I really enjoy being a major league baseball player. As a kid, I had always wanted to be one back when Roger Bradshaw and I would play catch in the grassy field across from my apartment. In case you are wondering what team I play on, I don’t really have a team. I also don’t have a coach that helps me become a better athlete. I don’t really believe you have to go to the stadium to be a major league baseball player. I have had my feelings hurt there. People have said unkind things to me. Some of the people that go to the stadium are hypocrites. They supposedly go to the game to watch baseball but, they have a paperback book in their hands by the time the second inning starts. And, that coach doesn’t have any right to tell me how to throw a baseball.
To avoid the risk of being called a liar, I admit I am not a major league baseball player. I have attended many games through the years, but frankly have not stepped foot in a major league stadium in over two years. If a person is truly a major league baseball player, there is an expectation that you would see them in a uniform playing in a game listening to his coach.
Believers in God can make the same mistake. Believers in God can make the mistake of claiming to be a disciple of Jesus Christ while not being involved in a local church. They may pray every day, they may sing songs of worship to the Lord and they may watch television ministers preaching the gospel. However, without involvement in a local church and submitting under the authority of a pastoral ministry they are in rebellion against the clear model of Christianity in the Bible.
Clearly, this is most evident when the author of the book of Hebrews admonishes us to “not forsake to assemble together as the manner of some”. The model throughout the New Testament is for believers in Christ to gather together on a weekly basis. Our faith grows when we congregate and celebrate with other believers. The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Our attendance with our brother and sisters in Christ sows seeds of faith into our life that moves us into maturity.
No, I am not a major league baseball player. I can wear a baseball cap, carry a bat and grip a baseball as I sit in Texas Rangers stadium. However, you stand a greater chance of being hit by an asteroid than of me being called up to pitch a couple of innings to get the Rangers out of a tight pinch. I haven’t had the experience, the training or a big dollar contract that makes me a major league baseball player.
Likewise, you are hindered in your Christian growth if you are not involved in a local church. It’s the same dysfunction as me claiming to be a major league baseball player without truly being on a baseball team. Refusing to submit to a pastor’s care and the fellowship of believers leads to a crippled spiritual life. The church is described in Scripture as the “Body of Christ” with Jesus Christ as its head. Just as you don’t have a relationship merely with someone’s head, it is very abnormal to merely have a relationship with Jesus Christ as the head when it was Christ who established the church as the normative part of a believers life.
Regardless of the past reasons making you less than enthused about church life, God’s plan to bless you involves being in relationship with His body of believers. Don’t give up. Keep visiting churches and pray that God will guide you to the right assembly of people who love Jesus Christ passionately. I will be praying for you. In the meantime, what did I do with that baseball glove?