Introduction

“We were all baptised by one Spirit into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free— and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Cor 12:13).
   
We live in an individualistic age, especially those of us who live or who are deeply influenced by the Western world. Sometimes, therefore, Christians think that what matters is my personal belief in Christ, what I believe in my heart. Hence, it is said, “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.”

However, this is to misunderstand the basic nature of Christianity as taught in Scripture. Of course individual, heart belief is crucial. Without it there is no salvation. But Christianity is essentially corporate. When we come to faith in Christ the Holy Spirit incorporates us into the worldwide body of Christ, the church.

So the answer to the statement “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian” is “You do if you want to be a really good Christian!”* Corporate worship, teaching fellowship and Communion are all essential to the Christian life

No church is perfect but the trouble is that many churches do not properly function as churches in the New Testament sense. They can be happy, friendly places where public worship takes place for an hour on Sunday– and that is good as far as it goes. But the New Testament envisages Christians being involved in a loving, united, but outward-looking fellowship where:

  • “each member belongs to all the others” (Rom 12:5)
  • all the members “have equal concern for each other” (1 Cor 12:14).
  • they frequently meet together to encourage one another (Heb 10:25)
  • they “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24)
  • they use their different gifts (e.g. encouragement, healing, sharing a word of wisdom, practical ability) to build up the fellowship in love. “From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph 4:16).

It can easily seem impossible for a church to develop such a fellowship, even on a group level, let alone the congregational level. But it is not. The resources in this section have been tried and tested in many churches. They may need some adaptation to local circumstances, but we experienced an ordinary Anglican parish church become such a fellowship. We distilled these resources from the experienced gained in the process.

There is however quite a bit of material which individuals can use, short articles or the longer “Called to Serve” course which has been used by well over 100,000 Christians.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to write to my blog site.

*Obviously I am not referring to those who through illness or circumstances genuinely cannot attend church. God makes special grace available to such people.

Church Development Resources

30 Articles, Essays & Courses Available in this Category

Articles are arranged according to subject and to whether they are:
1. Short popular articles for the general reader
2. Longer popular articles for the general reader
3. More academic articles where relevant


Teaching about the Church

Short popular articles for the general reader.

Longer popular series for the general reader.

Longer series for church leaders.

Teaching about Unity

Short popular articles for the general reader.

Teaching about Vision

Short popular articles for the general reader.

Teaching on Leadership

Short popular articles for the general reader.

Longer popular series for the general reader.

Teaching on Spiritual Warfare

Short popular articles for the general reader.

Longer popular series for the general reader.

Teaching on Prayer

Short popular articles for the general reader.

Teaching on Worship

Short popular articles for the general reader.

Updates Sign Up

Enter your E-mail to receive email updates
Subscribe

Copyright Policy

We have made great efforts to obtain copyright permission where relevant but it is possible that, despite our best efforts, we have unwittingly infringed someone’s copyright. In the event that such infringement occurs involving material on our website, we will remove the materials from the website following notification, and restore the materials to the website only after receiving written permission to do so from anyone with a valid claim as the owner of copyright in the texts.