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Which Church Should I Join Locally?


The Question:

Just where is it that the Bible says you are asked to join a local Bible-believing church?  And what if you can't find one anywhere around who believes all the Bible?  What if they just want to pick and choose which parts they will believe and sack the rest?  Where do you go then if there is a commandment to join a local church?


The Answer:

The early Church met daily in the temple courts and from house to house:

Acts 2:42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The writer of Hebrews instructs us to join with local believers on a regular basis:

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

So we should seek the fellowship, encouragement and love of other believers. However, the perfect church, where every member lives a perfect life and understands the whole Bible perfectly, does not exist. God does not tell us to find the perfect church and join it, because that is not possible. 

However, the true church, which we should join and support, does exist. It is composed of all who have repented of their sins and received Jesus as their savior. The true church has about 2 billion members now and it would be impossible for us all to meet together in one place on this planet. But daily, somewhere in the world, there are believers assembling together, studying the Bible, praying, sharing and loving one another. 

I'm sure that whatever body of believers you join locally will be imperfect. The gifts of the five fold ministry were given to us by Jesus at His resurrection (see below) for the perfecting or maturing of the church. There are also gifts of the Spirit which are meant to function in the assembly of believers. (I Corinthians chapters 12-14). We can only come under these ministry gifts if we join a local church body, and the gifts of the Spirit were meant to edify (or build up) the body of Christ together.

So I would advise you to pray and ask God which local body He would have you join and help build up with the gifts He has placed within you, which will also be the local part of Christ's body which contains gifts to supply what you are lacking spiritually. When my husband and I married, we visited several fine churches in this area and had to really seek God to find where we were needed the most. We believe that we are where He wants us to be and are committed to helping that group of believers grow.

Ephesians 4:4-16 There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (NIV version)

For further study:

Ephesians 4: http://members.tripod.com/KarleenP/Ephesians/Ephnote4.htm

Corinthians 12-14: http://members.tripod.com/KarleenP/Spirit/HolySpiritoverview.htm#spiritualgifts


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