The power of belonging to your church
Regular contributor Jane Walters has recently become a member of her local church, and is discovering the joy of Christian teamwork.
It’s a funny time to join a church. In and out of lockdown, most of my early contact with the people had been via YouTube and Zoom; which meant that I had the curious sense of feeling pretty well connected but without having met most of them for real. I had considered membership a natural step to take, albeit a fairly formal one – a box ticking exercise, perhaps.
Nothing quite prepared me for the change that happened to me on the inside. I left the service, having been beautifully and prophetically prayed for, to mingle outside, and I realised – quite definitely – that I belonged.
Much of my working time recently has been within my remit of being vice chair of the Association of Christian Writers. It’s our Golden Jubilee year and we have a book launch looming as well as some key events for our members. It’s reinforced for me the importance of not just connection, but a collective sense of gathering together for common purpose.
When I first joined ACW, it was right at the beginning of my writing journey. I’d barely written a thing and yet knew that I wanted to join with others that felt the same passions (and frustrations) as me. I wanted to hang out where these others hung out. I wanted to join in their conversations. I wanted in.
I am asked from time to time whether you have to go to church if you’re a Christian. The short answer is ‘no.’ It’s quite possible to pray and worship all on your own at home – as indeed many of us found ourselves doing recently; and those with illness or disability don’t have the luxury of choice.
But I guess the longer answer I would want to give has to conclude with this further question: why wouldn’t you want to?
The Biblical descriptions of life in the early church show a group of people that couldn’t stop meeting together. They pretty much pooled resources, considering themselves a community. Their prayer meetings were vibrant and exciting. Miracles were happening on the streets. People were discovering the truth about Jesus and having their lives radically changed.
For these early Christians, being on their own was not a patch on being with like-minded, like-hearted others. I’m getting enthused inside just thinking about it!
Being a Christian isn’t a solo occupation. Hooking up with even one other person makes you part of a team. I’m in. Are you?
The image above is courtesy of pixabay.com.
Jane Walters, formerly Clamp, is the author of Too Soon, a mother’s journey through miscarriage (SPCK) and a regular contributor to Premier Radio and UCB. She leads creative writing retreats and is a popular speaker locally and further afield. Visit: janewyattwalters.com
The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive debate between website users.