The Local Church

One of the best kept secrets in the world today is the local church, and unfortunately, very few people avail themselves to this secret.  But how is the local church a secret?  Most people, especially in developed countries, know about the local church, and they may have, at one time or another, attended one.  The local church is seen in photos, on corners of towns, and in movies throughout history.  Also, many people have been married or possibly buried in the local church.  So, how is it a secret at all?

It is not that many do not know of the existence of the local church.  That is hardly a secret to anyone.  It is not so much the existence of the local church that is the issue, but what lies behind the local church.

First, let me explain what I mean by the local church.  I am clearly not referring to a building that sits on the corner of Main and Elm.  Oh there is a local church there, but for many towns, it is simply a landmark for giving directions.  “Make a left at the church, and you will see our sign.” The local church is not a building.  The local church is a gathering of people in the name of the only Savior, Jesus Christ.  The true church is a born-again, blood-bought people gathering together for worship, fellowship, communion, ministry, and impact for the cause of Christ.  It is not a building, but a people.

 The local church is an untapped blessing that very few people—even the members of a local church—utilize; they seldom draw from the purpose of the church.  Take. for example, the leadership of a Bible-based local church.  These men have been put in leadership to watch over the flock (Hebrews 13, I Peter 5).  But it is most important to remember Who has placed them in authority over the flock and why.  The church belongs to Jesus Christ, and He has promised to build His church.  He places the leaders over the flock as He sees fit (1 Cor. 12-14).  He has a vested interest in His church.  These are His bought-out people that He paid for with His own blood.  So, He carefully places men over His people to watch over His flock.  These gifted men have been called by God to serve His people, and our Lord is committed to see that the local church becomes all He wants it to be.  Because of God’s call on their lives, and God’s purpose for the church, these leaders have access to God that helps them lead the flock.  If the flock would tap into that wisdom on a regular basis, it would so help them in the problems of life.  Just as a shepherd watches over his flock, so do the leaders watch over the church.  The flock needs to be ready and have a desire to be led, so that the leaders can fulfill their calling.  To act independent of leadership, as many church members do, simply cuts off a major artery of wisdom that God has set in place.

Can a church member act apart of the leadership?  Of course, but why not utilize what God has put in place?  Decisions, counsel, advice, direction, and purpose are just some of the help awaiting each member at the door of the leader.  Over the years as a Pastor, I have seen very few truly ask for counsel, and for the majority who come and request it, they already know what they are going to do.  How sad to miss out on such an important help that your Savior has in place for you.  Be a member who taps deeply into all the wells of blessing that your Shepherd, the Savior, has put in place for you.

My next blog will explore this further with additional untapped blessings of the local church.