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Why You Should Be Rooted in a Local Church




One of my seminary professors, Dr. Svigel, taught me something life-grounding, life-stationing, and life-solidifying. He shared that what our world and the global Church need today are Christians who are willing to invest back into their church family for significant periods of time.

With obvious exceptions like unaddressed moral failure, heretical teaching, or God’s call to another city, he explained that biblically and historically speaking, followers of Jesus should be rooted in their local church.

Why Church

Scripture is clear about many things, one being that involvement in a church is an expectation and an integral part of one’s identity as a Jesus-follower. Jesus Himself made it clear that being a disciple of His is, by definition, a relational identity (1 Corinthians 11:24, Luke 10:1, Matthew 16:18, John 17:22-23). Following Jesus is both social and familial. Fellowship is a mark of Jesus’ followers and that Christians are called to do life together (Acts 2:42-47, 1 John 1:7). The Apostle Paul makes it clear that the Church is a “body,” “joined and held together.” Though diverse, the Church exists and operates as a family (Ephesians 4:16). Church is not something you attend or an organization you join, but a family to which you belong.

Why You

The Church is the gathered people of God. It is one “body” made up of individuals. You, as a uniquely designed and equipped ambassador of God, have a role to play and a gift to contribute. God personally calls you to the Church to exemplify love. Good works and encouragement are the duties of “one another,” yourself included (Hebrews 10:24-25, James 5:16). When you transition from treating church as something you attend to something you personally belong to and contribute toward, you step into the community and ultimately, your purpose.

Why Rooted

When you become a follower of Jesus, it’s important to pursue getting baptized. This step of faith is one of the primary ways you can demonstrate that you belong to a new family—the Church. Once you make this public declaration in front of your gathered church family, you are committing to the Church, and the  Church is committing to you. Being a part of a local church comes with the priceless blessing of being known, celebrated, cared for, and instructed. You are grafted into the family tree that is your local church. To be semi-committed, semi-involved, and semi-present to your church is to be a distant and unengaged family member. To be emotionally, financially, and relationally invested in your church is to be a life-giving and life-receiving member of the family of God. Followers of Jesus are rooted in a local church because it is both personally and corporately beneficial to be involved and invested.

Why Local

A church in proximity is an available, accountable, and accessible church. Most people, when considering involvement in a church, ask themselves the question, “How far is the commute on Sundays?” What invested followers of Jesus should be asking when considering involvement in a church is, “Can I love and be loved well from where I live?” “Can I contribute, and can people contribute to me?” Church is not something you attend on Sundays; it is a family to which you belong on all days. Carrying this kind of others-oriented mentality to your church family will enhance your experience and enable your church to function as God designed it. Being available to serve and be served by your church eradicates consumerism and replaces it with generosity and receptivity. When you live in proximity to your church, it becomes your community. 

Because of my work in ministry, I often hear people ask, “Where can I find the best church community?” My answer to this question is always, “At your church.” What I mean by this is that your most life-giving church experience will always be where you are functioning both as a generous giver and a humble recipient. If you search for a church, looking only for what the church can give to you, you are looking at consumerism. However, if you search for a church knowing that you will be fully committed, fully invested, and fully receptive to the people present there, you will find yourself deep in the fertile soil of community. Community is not about the local church’s contribution to you but your contribution to your church. 

Being rooted in a local church is a blessing. While being a part of a local church is a personal responsibility and a weighty calling for Christians (Hebrews 10:24-25), it is simultaneously the richest form of fellowship that can be embraced. And it will be for you.

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Scripture References

  • 1 Corinthians 11:24
  • Luke 10:1
  • Matthew 16:18
  • John 17:22-23
  • Acts 2:42-47
  • 1 John 1:7
  • Ephesians 4:16
  • Hebrews 10:24-25
  • James 5:16
  • Romans 6:3-11
Josh Crawford Josh Crawford is on staff at Passion City Church where he serves on the CORE Team, specializing in "Practical Theological Discipleship." Before coming on staff, Josh studied Religion at Wofford College and went on to complete a Masters in Theology at Dallas Theology Seminary. Josh lives in Atlanta with his wife Macie, close by their two incredible families. He loves golf when he plays well but hates it when he plays badly.