Why do we need to go to church? What's the point? Can't I be a Christian without going to church? Surely it's all between me and God. Why do I need other Christians around me anyway?
SAY: The A-Team are a cheesy bunch of guys, making impossible weapons (that never hurt anyone) from the strangest set of ingredients. They come through every time, although they're a crazy combo of a madman, a cigar smoking smoothy, a lady's man and BA - one huge muscle-head! What a crazy team, but they work together, despite their tensions and differences. They have a purpose and work together time-after-time in order to achieve these purposes. Sound familiar?
Team Thailand Pyramid - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mmsc0uwV0c
Hebrews 10.25 says, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
The author is talking about meeting together as church. How do we know this is about church? Because it was written in Greek. In the original version in Greek, the Bible uses the word, "episunagógé" meaning a gathering or an assembly - from another word, "episunagó" meaning, "a complete collection; especially a Christian meeting (for worship) -- assembling (gathering) together." (Strong's). The clear message is don't give up going to church, especially as the Day of Jesus returning comes nearer. Why? Because we need each other.
Play a couple of games where people need each other.
For example, the game where everyone gets into a tight circle standing up, all facing the same way. Then you have to sit down onto the 'lap' of the person behind you. Then everyone can walk together as you walk all at the same time.
Other games include ones where people sit back to back on the floor, then as they bend their legs up and then push back-to-back, they will be able to stand up. But only as they work together at the same time.
Maybe other team games could include ones where you deliberately do tasks that you know people can complete (eg someone in your group may be able to put their eyelids over their eyes, so the task is that the group has to do that) etc etc.
You may well have other team games that you can think of - even just standing in a line and passing a balloon along the line without using hands.
1 Corinthians 12 is a great picture of the body - the human body representing the body that is the church.
1 Corinthians 12.12 says, "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." This is the picture. The body is a unit, made up of many parts that together make up that body. Every part is different and has a unique purpose, but put together in the right way, makes a perfectly functioning body. You may be a finger, an arm or an elbow. But you are essential and special. And you have to play your part in order for the body to be whole. So in a very real way, if you don't go to church and don't use the gifts and skills that God has put in you, then the church won't be complete. Now, we are all part of one universal church that extends across the world and through time. But God places his people in specific locations and in a local church. God says that all we do must be done for the strengthening of the church.
Proverbs 27.17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." So as we do church and mix with different people who aren't quite like us, we get spiritually sharpened and have the bad edges rubbed off us, just like pebbles in a stream. Church is one of the best places in the world to get opportunities and get trained - as leaders, musicians, speakers, serving and giving!
This is a worksheet looking at the body with a picture of people and some arrows off, for students to write down where they think they're called in the church, in terms of what their part is or could be. Plus a statement for a mission statement. Depending on your group, print off for individuals or a few for your group to complete together.
Do we really need each other?
You know what, we don't absolutely need to go to church to be a Christian, but if you really love God, you'll actually want to go and worship, hang out with, learn and give to other believers. Sometimes we get hurt by people in church, but like any relationship we have to keep going and love each other. Jesus said that people would know we were the church by our love for each other. If you don't love other Christians, you're actually part of the problem - people actually get put off the church. If you don't want to go to church, you need to take a close look at your Christian life. So make sure you're right with God and people!
Ephesians 4.15-16 says, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
Paul encourages the believers to work together as a whole body. He uses the picture of a body and the joints and ligaments that make up the body to help illustrate his point.
Colossians 2.19 says something similar, warning against people who get it all wrong spiritually and who have, "lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow."
So from this we know that we are joined together in Christ as one body. Each person is like a supporting 'ligament' or 'sinew' (parts of your body), supporting others around. A ligament is 'a band of tissue, usually white and fibrous, serving to connect bones, hold organs in place.' A sinew is a tendon and a place of muscular power. So we need to be connected and alongside others - in this way, we can demonstrate God's power, he can work to change us and then the church will be all that God wants it to be - a place of healing, an army, a movement to change lives. We have to be part of the church and working together in order for the church to really grow.
If you're in your early teens, you're still growing. You don't want to stay as you are, you want to grow (well, probably!) You wouldn't do things that would stop you growing (like not eating). The same is true in the church - we don't want to stop the church growing. But as you take part and play your unique role which God has created you for, you will grow up and the church will grow. And you as a young person will encourage older Christians so much - and you have the energy and passion that combined with other people's experience will see great stuff happen. And this will change your life and the world around you.
Today, it's time to re-connect with church. Yeah sure it can be boring. If it's too boring or doesn't teach the Bible, you may want to look somewhere else. But most churches are fairly sound - stay connected and just see what God does!