Do you think you don’t need the church? Do you consider yourself a lone wolf? You might want to think again.
Church attendance in America is declining. Recent surveys claim 38 percent of Americans are churchgoers but only half that number actually find their way to church on any given Sunday. When you look at younger Americans in particular, the news is even more depressing. Sadly, only 28% of younger Americans between 23 and 37 attend church.
There are plenty of reasons why millennials are leaving the church but one that this video concentrates on is a feeling that the church isn’t needed anymore. If they want to hear messages that convict or encourage them there are thousands available on YouTube and via podcasts that they can listen to while sitting on the couch in their sweatpants.
But the video points out those recorded sermons can’t replace the community that is needed when difficult times come.
The video uses wolves to tell that story. Wolves need a pack to take down larger animals in the winter when smaller prey are in hibernation. A lone wolf is no match for an elk. Without the help of others, the lone wolf will starve and die.
Using winter as a euphemism for the struggles in life that visit everyone at some point, like health problems or the loss of a job, the video likens the church to a wolf pack. Fellow Christians will help you survive the tough times.
Heidi Charalambous of NewSpring finds four reasons Christians need church.
- We need other Christians. If you want to know what you believe, listen to what your friends say. The more time we spend around people who ridicule God, the more we allow their attitudes to affect our thoughts and attitudes (Psalm 1:1-2). The more time we spend with God’s people and in His presence, the more like Jesus we become. That’s why the writer of Hebrews encouraged Christians at that time not to give up meeting together. If we want to hold unswervingly to our faith, we need to surround ourselves with people who will encourage us to follow Jesus even when it’s hard, to have faith when everything seems hopeless, and to rely on Jesus even when we think we can do everything on our own (Hebrews 10:23-25).
- We need opportunities to discover our spiritual gifts. Every one us has a skill God wants to use to help others know Him and follow Him. The Bible calls these skills spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12), and we discover our spiritual gifts the same way we discover any other kind of special talent. Kobe Bryant realized he was great at basketball when he started playing basketball. Katy Perry discovered she could could sing when she started singing. We will never uncover what God has equipped and called us to do if we don’t get involved.
- We need authority. We don’t have to believe anything anyone tells us about God. He appointed men and women in the church to lead us and to teach us (Hebrews 13:17). God gave us the Bible and the church so we can know what’s from Him. Through the church’s authority structure, we can test and see what’s of God and what isn’t when we can’t tell on our own. When we’ve prayed, read the Bible and still aren’t sure what to do, the church is where we go for advice.
- We never stop needing grace. Church people are not perfect people. We are forgiven, but we are still sinners. No matter how long we’ve been following Jesus, we are going to screw up, fall short and sin. And when we do, we need a place where we can come to be healed, restored and renewed. That place is the church. The sunroof in my little red Galant ruined me. I can’t imagine owning a car without a sunroof ever again. The same is true when it comes to church. As I made friends, joined a group and started serving, God changed me. I woke up one day and realized I couldn’t imagine not being involved in church. Church is no longer just nice; it’s necessary.