When you invited Jesus into your life, you became a part of God’s family! It doesn’t matter what color your skin is; how smart you are; what kind of job you have; if you are a man, woman, teenager, or child; or how much money or stuff you have …you are part of the family of God. And you need to get to know the other members of your family!
Join together with other Christians!
(See Ephesians 2:19-22)
Growing in your relationship with God depends on you connecting regularly with your new brothers and sisters in God’s family. This “family time” provides mutual encouragement, practical insights about living the Christian life, and direction for fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. It is important that you connect with a Bible believing church or group of believers in your locality.
One of the main reasons many Christians live defeated lives is that they have isolated themselves from other believers. They think they can go it alone. That they can stay connected to Christ without being connected to His body, which is made up of other believers.
Throughout the New Testament of the Bible, Paul tells the early Christians that they need to stay committed to God and to each other. Every part of the body of Christ is important. And every part is interrelated. Think about your personal, physical body for a moment … every part has an important function and every part is interconnected. Likewise, the body of Christ is also interconnected (see 1 Corinthians 12:14-27). It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together.
You, along with all other Christians of all time, make up what is known as the body of Christ, the Church. Jesus made a promise to you and me. When we come together, with Him as our focus, He is there: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).
The Church, at its heart, is about relationships—relationships with others and relationship with God. But relationships are hard and being truly open in a relationship involves the risk of getting hurt. It’s safer to avoid vulnerability. It feels like it might be safer to just go it alone. But it is in relationship where we learn, grow, are loved, and form our identity and foundation for experiencing the world. The Church provides identity, growth, love, and learning. The Church also connects us to God’s work in the world and the part we play in that work. It’s through the Church (that network of relationships extending around the globe) that we get glimpses of the work of God that is so much bigger than us as individuals.
We are meant to grow together, to pursue God’s purposes in the world together. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We are a family—vulnerable in our openness, obviously imperfect, but given the incredible opportunity to love God and love others together.
The decision to commit to a local church involves both discernment and process. It may take some time to find a place that truly helps you grow in your relationship with God. Here are some resources that will help you in the process: