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From the Pastor’s Heart

Just as each body part depends on the others, so we too need each other.

You’ve probably noticed that church life can be comforting and refreshing, or uncomfortable, puzzling, difficult, and all-absorbing—in other words, it’s a lot like a family. A healthy, Bible- believing fellowship is made of life-giving connections. Churches aren’t perfect, but you could call them one of our “essential blessings.” 

Dr. Stanley often talked about why. Here are some thought-provoking words he offered on the value of participating in the body of Christ:

I want to talk to you about something that liberated me to finally become the person God wanted me to be. It wasn’t a single amazing experience or miraculous sign. 

It was something familiar yet powerful: the local church

I could not be more grateful for everyone who listens to or watches our broadcast; I pray the time we learn together is beneficial and enjoyable. At the same time, I hope those who are able to be involved in a local church will do that as well. 


Because we’re meant to live in relationship with fellow believers. In fact, it’s essential for spiritual growth. God doesn’t want us to be “lone ranger” Christians. Why else would He put so many “one another” passages in the New Testament? 

But this advice isn’t just for those who choose not to attend a church. 

Even people who go to church regularly may be spectators rather than participants. The Christian life is more than a weekly appointment. It involves living life with other believers in practical and profound ways.

The Lord made this calling clear in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 when He described the church as one body with different parts. Every member is essential for the proper working of the church. Just as each body part depends on the others, so we too need each other.

All the “one another” commands in the Bible can be fulfilled by loving each other. But how does that work out practically in the church? To help you understand how we are to help and care for each other in the fellowship of believers, I’d like to focus on a few of these commands.

First of all, we are to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess. 5:11). 

Fellowship in the church isn’t just greeting each other or sharing potluck meals. It means investing ourselves in people’s lives and helping them grow spiritually. There are a variety of ways this can be done—praying for them, sharing biblical principles that apply to their situations in life, or reminding them of God’s faithfulness and promises. 

Later in this chapter, Paul added these instructions: “Admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (v. 14). 

Second, we should “be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Rom. 12:10). 

The church is not a place to claim personal rights or seek self advancement. Instead, we serve each other by seeking the other person’s good. Think how many church conflicts would dissolve if we all considered others as more important than ourselves.

Third, we are to treat others “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). 

Verse 32 adds similar characteristics of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Think about the opposites of these qualities—pride, harshness, impatience, intolerance, rudeness, indifference, and unforgiveness.

We all want the first list to characterize us, not the second. But living in close relationship with other people sometimes reveals qualities we need to develop, doesn’t it? Perhaps that’s why some people no longer attend church. Maybe they’ve been hurt in the past or have developed animosity toward some fellow believers. Yet these conflicts are the very reason we need to stay involved. 

God uses these hurts and disagreements to make us more like Christ and produce godly traits in us. If we give up on the church, we lose out on this sanctifying influence.

I’ve always had a group of Christian men with whom I meet regularly. They hold me accountable, stimulate me to pursue godliness, confront me when I’m slow to recognize sin, and encourage me to keep going. That’s what each of us needs, and such friends can be found in church. You may not be able to know everyone in your local fellowship, but you can know a few people intimately. 

God has used those relationships to transform me. I know He’ll do the same for you.

Church life, even in healthy congregations, can be challenging. 

But Dr. Stanley has reminded us that, at least in part, that’s God’s design. We hope this letter encourages you to take a step toward local fellowship, or bring your current participation to a new level. 

Let God surprise you with all He can do through the presence of His people. This moment just might be the start of something new. Till next time, 

God bless you.

For His Glory, 

Your Friends at In Touch Ministries