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Why Church? —To get ready for eternity!

LANA MUTHLER / THE EXPRESS The large sanctuary at Big Woods Church seats hundreds.

By PASTOR TIM BOGER

For The Express

CASTANEA — Why church? Why go? Why give? Why get up on Sunday when it’s my only day to sleep in? Why bother?

As a pastor for more than 20 years I have been asked those questions more times than you could ever imagine.

To find answers you could go the Google route and quickly read “church makes me feel good!” Or… “church makes me feel at peace,” “wanted,” “important,” “part of something bigger than myself.”

LANA MUTHLER / THE EXPRESS The lobby at Big Woods has a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

While those all sound like legitimate answers they lack something fundamentally important to the subject of “Why Church?” Especially since I could go to a party, a picnic or KFC and feel good. Or I could go for a walk in the woods and feel at peace or a ball game and feel part of something bigger than myself.

If you search for and examine what church is, you quickly learn it’s more than just a place you go. Instead, church is something you are a part of. The word church/ekklesia is defined simply as “people who have been called out together.”

The next question obviously is “called” to what? Two thousand years ago Jesus walked up to a couple guys who were sitting in a boat on the edge of a lake, fixing their fishing nets and He called out saying, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” I still find it amazing they actually left their boats, nets, jobs and even their homes…and followed Jesus, when it had to be impossible for them to completely understand to what Jesus was calling them.

But they listened and literally began to follow Jesus everywhere. They listened to Him teach, preach, pray. They watched Him heal people. They witnessed, first hand, His compassion, His passion, His power. And they learned how to love other people, build relationships, pursue holiness, talk like He talked, serve others and care for others. They learned the importance of speaking the truth to others, just like Jesus had spoken the truth to them.

They were close-by when He was arrested, scared-to-death when they heard of His suffering and how He was nailed to a cross.

But…when they heard Jesus had risen from the dead, they raced to see the empty tomb to see Him and spend time with Him because they loved Him. These men were disciples, “those called to follow.”

The very last thing Jesus said to them before He went back to heaven was “Go and make disciples baptize them and teach them to obey all things that I have commanded. I will be with you always,” Matthew 28:19-20. That is exactly what they did. In just a few years they were standing before the most powerful rulers of the day accused of “…turning the world upside down,” Acts 17:6, all because they lived and loved just like Jesus. That is the church.

At Big Woods we still want to be obedient to Jesus’ instructions to “Go and make disciples”. That is why we believe church is not only a place you go to, but it’s a group of people that are called and committed to follow Jesus by gathering together to worship Him and learn about Him. Church is not a place to tell others WHAT you know, but a place to show others WHO you know. Church is not a place you go to feel certain things but a place to be taught the most important thing, the Gospel, or Good News!

“God so loved the world He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life,” John 3:16. Therefore, church is NOT a place you go to get ready for another week, it’s a place you need to go to get ready for eternity! That’s…Why Church?

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Tim Boger is Sr. Pastor of Big Woods Bible Church

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