By Mike Farmer
Director of missions, McMinn-Meigs Association of Baptists
My question now is this, “What have we learned from the past year?”
We should have learned the truth that God did not make us to be isolated individuals. We were created for fellowship with God and one another. If you understand the first few chapters of Genesis, you know God created mankind in His image. Communion with our Creator is an important part of who we are. While God gave us responsibility in caring for His creation, our ultimate purpose revolves around a relationship with Him.
As physical beings, we need food, water and shelter in order to survive. Beyond the physical existence, we are spiritual beings. And some of the needs for the spiritual nature are fellowship with our God and relationships with other people.
God did not create us to exist in isolation. Hebrews 10:24-25 teaches us about our need for relationships with others. We should have concern for one another. We need to give and receive encouragement as we face the issues of life. There is something empowering about being in worship with other believers. Relationships are not just social interactions. We grow and gain strength through the time we have with other believers.
I was so pleased to see so many churches adapt to the times by moving their services to online formats. That was needed for a while, and there will always be a need for having services available online for those who cannot be in church on Sunday.
However, if you are satisfied with watching a church service online then your expectations are too low. This is not church. It worked as a substitute while we got a grasp on the pandemic, but I do not believe it should be our long-range plan. Christians thrive in relationship with one another. This, hopefully, then leads us to have a better relationship with God.
It is very difficult for online services to fulfill the role of the local church. Almost every instance of the use of the word “church” in the New Testament is referring to a local body of believers who are gathering together.
If you are able, be a part of the fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ. I expect it will make a difference in your life. Let’s work together to strengthen one another in the faith. B&R