I grew up in the Bible belt where churches were everywhere. When I was a teenager, I didn’t always see the importance of going to church, so when something that I wanted to do came up, I would skip out. It wasn’t until a few years later, when God used my wife, Nichole, to let me see my need for Jesus, that I became passionate about pursuing Him. But even then, I couldn’t say that I loved going to church. I didn’t hate going; I was thankful for the church, but I didn’t consider it a “non-negotiable” in my cultivating a relationship with Jesus.
At 19 years old, newly married, my obsession with Jesus grew. I saw in the book of Ephesians 5:25-27, that Paul encouraged husbands to love their wives in the same extravagant way that Christ loves His church. I realized that if I loved Jesus, I would love what He loves, and He loves the church. The Church is important to Jesus therefore the Church is important to me. Now, as my love for Jesus deepens, I find myself loving the church more and more.
But our love for the church is declining in America according to many statistics. With less than 20% of America’s population attending church on a regular basis, it looks like we are fighting a losing battle. In the state of Washington, where we live, less than 4% attend a Bible-believing Church. It is discouraging. But then again, maybe we’re looking through the wrong lens.
OPPORTUNITY! People still need Jesus, so they still need the church. Not just any church, but a healthy, Bible-believing church. Jesus said He is building His church (Matthew 16:18), and I wholeheartedly desire to join Him (1 Corinthians 3:9-10). As Jesus builds his church, He promises that all the powers of hell will not conquer it. I want in on that and I want that for our community.
Jesus uses the church to show his love in this darkened world. I realize that people have had negative experiences attending church. They leave or avoid going to church for legitimate reasons-they’ve been hurt or let down, but Jesus can heal those wounds, and we at The Rock Church want to be a part of that healing process. The Rock and its Network Churches are faithful in expanding God’s mission by sharing the story of Jesus and His power to bring salvation (Romans 1:16) into people’s lives and communities. Os Guinness said, “In itself the good news of Jesus is utterly relevant, or it’s not the good news it claims to be.”