20 Quotes on (Better) Loving Your Church
I (Matt Smethurst) recently read Megan Hill’s new book, A Place to Belong: Learning to Love the Local Church (Crossway, 2020), which I highly recommend. Here were my favorite 20 quotes.
Paul [experienced] many of the challenges of life in the local church. He was viewed with skepticism by church leaders (Acts 9:26). He suffered personal attacks from false teachers and their disciples (2 Cor. 10:10). He was intentionally misunderstood by other Christians (2 Pet. 3:16). He had disagreements with other Christians (Acts 15:36–40). He was disappointed by other Christians (see 2 Cor. 11:22–29). He sat alone in prison, longing for committed fellow workers but realizing “they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 2:21). And—in what may be the saddest verse in all of the Epistles—he recounts, “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:16). If anyone knew how disappointing the local church can be, it was the apostle Paul. (15–16)
Private worship is never the highest or most glorious worship. . . . We might mistakenly think that we are closest to God when we worship him privately, but John’s experience teaches us that as important and intimate as time alone with the Lord may be, it can’t be compared to the privilege of corporate worship. (49)
In an era that prizes constant change and originality, it can be surprising to realize that corporate worship has neither. (49)
Because God is the exalted and holy object of our worship, we acknowledge that he is also its rightful director. . . . From the call to worship to the final benediction, corporate worship is saturated with the word of God for the good of the people of God. (50–51)
There is nowhere else on earth that you will be nearer to heaven. (56)
A local church’s elders do not rule on their