By Bob Hardison
Q: I love Jesus. I read the Bible and prayer regularly, but I’m not affiliated with a church. Why do I need to be a part of a church anyway?
A: Commitment to a local church is a non-negotiable part of Christian discipleship. Let me illustrate. I attended seminary six miles north of San Francisco at Mill Valley California. There, within city limits, my wife, Violet, and I would visit Muir Woods National Park—known for its beautiful redwood trees. They are gigantic. Some of them grow over 350 feet high and 24 feet in diameter. They are truly magnificent to behold.
One of the unique features of redwoods is their shallow root systems. A tree’s roots overcome their lack of depth by extending outward more than 100 feet from its base to intertwine its roots with those of other redwoods. With their interwoven roots system, redwoods stand tall and possess amazing strength to exist in strong winds. Like the massive redwoods, Christ intended his followers to worship, fellowship and serve with other Christians in local families known as churches.
Our culture is becoming increasingly individualistic, but it is important to realize Christians can only develop properly and fully by staying involved with other believers in a church. Late evangelist Dwight L. Moody noted, “Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.”