If you belong to the church, you belong to the greatest company on earth. Our product—the gospel—works universally. We have a great benefits package: forgiveness from the past, meaning and purpose for the present, and peace of mind for the future. And when it's all over, we have the best retirement package going on: face-to-face fellowship with God and eternal rewards that don't quit.
But I've discovered that most outsiders look at the church and say, "Why should I belong to it? Who needs it?" It's a good question, and the biblical answer is that we all do. Let me give you four reasons why:
1. Because we need God's people. We live in a complex, busy world in which technology is growing exponentially and people are feeling less and less connected. We want face-to-face, real community; God created us that way. And that is precisely where the church can and should excel. Even with all of our shortcomings, problems, and baggage we bring to the table, that's what the church can provide. God's cure for isolation is to put people with His people (see Psalm 68:6).
2. Because we need God's principles. We need to be exposed to steady doses of truth multiple times a week. And if there's one place where truth ought to be distinctly and unambiguously heard, it's the church (see 1 Timothy 3:15). In a world cluttered with voices and opinions on how you should live and what you should value, you need to hear that clarion call that cuts through it all: "Thus sayeth the Lord."
3. Because we need God's purpose. Every human being would love to know that they're part of a purpose, a cause greater than themselves, and the gospel is the greatest cause in the world. When you become one of God's children, He enlists you in the family business, which is all about getting people to heaven, changing one life at a time through preaching the gospel. That's our meaning, our purpose as God's church on earth.
4. Because we need God's presence. Jesus gave a special promise to those who gather and worship together as the body of Christ: "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). We need that special sense of God's presence because, more than a social gathering where we discover purpose, church is a place where we corporately worship God.
I love God's church. We have the privilege of working for the greatest cause in the world: the gospel. And I believe the best days for the church are ahead of us. So let's "not [forsake] the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some," the writer of Hebrews said, "but [exhort] one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).