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Q: Is studying the Bible at home better than attending a weak church?

A: It’s easy to think that, but the truth is, you need the local church, and the local church needs you. Hebrews 10:24-25 urges, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (NLT).

Assembling together with other believers is God’s idea. We are to come together as the Body, without strife, and allow the Spirit of God to move (1 Corinthians 12-14). Nowhere in the Bible does it say to go off by yourself and be your own church. The Body has many members, and we need one another so that we operate as a Body together. When you assemble together, you are to be ready to give and receive (1 Corinthians 14:26)!

Understand that joining a church is not what makes you a member of the Body of Christ. You became a member of the Body of Christ the moment you made Jesus the Lord of your life. And retaining that place in His Body is not conditional on membership in a local church. Where church membership is vitally important is in your growth as a Christian. Find a local church home where the Word of God is accurately preached. There you will get the support and love that fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord can provide. And your faithful commitment will help that church flourish and reach more people with God’s Word.

Hebrews 10:23-25 makes this quite clear: “Hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Connecting with a local church and developing godly relationships with other believers is a major key to spiritual growth and success (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Finding the right local church is a personal decision. Brother Copeland offers this guidance: “This is the time to pray and say, ‘LORD, where is my church home? Where is my church family? Am I in the right city?’ You find out where your church home is, and I’ll guarantee you, your financial success will be there. That’s where your job is going to be, that’s where your business is going to be. Life is in that place. Put God first.”

Don’t get held back by differences in beliefs and traditions. You’ll find those differences anywhere two or more people assemble together. Just keep your focus on foundational issues. Don’t compromise on the fundamental doctrines: salvation by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ; water baptism; Baptism in the Holy Spirit; prosperity and health for the whole person—spirit, soul and body; the return of Jesus and accompanying resurrection from the dead; and eternal judgment—heaven or hell (Ephesians 2:8-10; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:5, 19:2-6; 3 John 2; Acts 1:10-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Mark 16:15-20; Revelation 20:10-15; Hebrews 6:1-2).

Prayerfully consider the following scriptures and then faithfully commit your talents, abilities and God-given gifts toward working with other believers in possessing the land for the kingdom of God: John 14:12-15; Romans 12:3-13; Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. You can rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit in making your decision!

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