By: Mary Martinez

While scrolling through social media, I came across a quote recently that said, “Watching church on a live stream is like watching a fireplace on a screen. You see it, but you don’t feel the warmth.” This comparison really resonated with me. Last year, my husband and I made the difficult decision to leave the church we had attended together for over 10 years.  It was not a decision we made on a whim or took lightly. It took a lot of praying, waiting, seeking counsel, praying, and more waiting. When God finally told us it was time, we wanted to be obedient to His word, so we started looking and praying for God to lead us to a new place of fellowship. We ended up with about a 4-month gap between leaving and finding our new church. During that time, we definitely missed the “warmth” of gathering with other believers. 

God’s word is clear. We are called to attend Church, Hebrews 10:19-25 describes why we need fellowship: 

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 

Changing churches has truly been a journey.  Through it all, God has broadened my understanding of his purpose for the Church. Church is much more than just a place to be fed once a week. Though being “fed” is important, there is so much more to attending Church. The above verse in Hebrews beautifully describes God’s call for believers to gather together. Fellowshipping with other believers gives us the opportunity to help stir up one another in love and good works. Fellowshipping with others allows us to encourage each other with our testimonies, support each other through the many trials we face, and serve each other and our community in love. We need the family of Christ to help hold us accountable and strengthen us for this journey, especially as the time draws near to Jesus’ return. 

  • If you aren’t connected with a church body or attending regularly, I encourage you to start praying and earnestly looking for a church community. God is faithful and will lead you to where he wants you to be.
  • If you have been hurt by church in the past, please know that God can heal that hurt. When we surrender to Him and be obedient to his word He will repair that wound. The truth is there is no perfect church, nor any perfect people. Put yourself back into a fellowship where God can use you and pour into you. Your faithfulness to Him and His imperfect body will bring you to a place of healing.  
  • If you aren’t actively involved in the church that you are currently attending, it’s time to take that step of faith and get involved. You are a vital part of Christ’s body. We all have gifts and talents that God wants to use for his glory. When we place ourselves in a place of service, God has a very mighty and amazing way of humbling us while blessing us. 
  • If you are a military family and have held back from getting involved because you know you will be moving and getting involved in something so temporary seems like a lot of work, I understand.  We sometimes put up walls to protect ourselves, but I encourage you to remember God can do amazing things through you in just a few days, weeks, or even months. Remember, Jesus rose from the dead in 3 days, and that changed everything.

You can listen to Mary’s Podcast Episode in deeper discussion here: Thriving Together Podcast