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Why Having a Church Family Matters 
By Rick Warren

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)

The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. Ephesians 2:19 says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (TLB).

Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans—“bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church. But God strongly disagrees. 

The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: “Christ loved the church and gave his life for it” (Ephesians 5:25 GW).

Except for a few important exceptions referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word “church” is used in the Bible, it refers to a local, visible congregation. The New Testament assumes every Christian will be a member of a local church. 

If you follow Christ, it’s important to be committed to a specific group of disciples. A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT).

Your commitment to a church identifies you as a believer—but it also strengthens you as a believer. When you meet with your church, you gain motivation and encouragement from other believers, and you provide motivation and encouragement to them.

Maybe you’ve had a great week and feel like you don’t need to go to church. But if you aren’t at church, who will miss out on the encouragement you could provide? For someone on the edge of hopelessness, your warm smile or encouraging word might make all the difference. That’s what it means to be the church.

Here’s the truth: Christians need each other to grow. Many people think spiritual growth is a private matter, but God calls believers to live out their faith in community. You can’t develop a deep faith in isolation.

And when people come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, races, and social statuses, it’s a witness to the world. As Galatians 3:28 says, “You are all the same in Christ Jesus” (GW).

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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