The church plays a critical role in the spiritual life of the believer. And the believer plays a critical role in the life of a healthy church. To better understand why the church needs you specifically, you must first understand why you need the church.

First, the church is a family of believers that comes together in fellowship with one another and the Father. Like family, the church is meant to be there for you in the highs and lows of your life. The church should not give up on you, and you should not give up on the church.

Over the summer, I visited a church for the first time that was about to lose a member as he moved across the country. I watched as grown men and women wept over the loss of such a member of their family. The church had three other members speak about this leaving member and testify about the critical role he played in their local church and in their personal lives. My fiancé and I were weeping ourselves at the end of the service just from witnessing the deep loss for them to lose a vital part of their church. Yet, the congregation rejoiced in knowing that a local church in Pennsylvania was about to gain such a treasured new family member. This is the type of family the church is supposed to be.

Not only is the church a family, but the church is a body. Specifically, Christ’s body, with Christ Himself as the head. 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” The passage explains that we each make up individual parts of the body of Christ in the church! Just as God arranged our physical bodies, he has arranged the church body. God has gifted us as unique parts to add to the body of Christ. He loves the church and has given you specific gifts to testify of his name in your local church body. In fact, the church needs you to be part of its body, or it will not function properly. My hand cannot thrive and function properly without my arm, and my whole body cannot function as properly without my hand!

Throughout all of scripture, there is a sense of oneness with the people of God. Even in the Old Testament, Israel is delivered from Egypt as a people, His people. We were not chosen as just separate individuals to enter God’s kingdom, but as part of his family with whom to spend eternal glory. We should not and cannot walk through this life as believers alone.

So, just as much as the church is a place we need to feed our souls with the gospel and experience fellowship, the church needs us to come with generous hearts to serve with our gifts. Therefore, as critical of a role as the church plays in your own Christian life, so is the role you specifically play in your local church! If you are not part of a local church, please, do not put it off anymore. The church needs you, and you need the church.

For more information and resources on spiritual wellness, please visit the Spiritual Development webpage, which includes a directory of local churches near Biola.

Katie McGee is a Junior Psychology Major and works as a Peer Wellness Ambassador in the Office of Student Wellness.