I just spent a few moments today channel surfing. I wasn’t looking for any particular program; I was merely seeing what was on (in case you’re wondering, there wasn’t much on). As I hit a certain region of the station numbers I entered what is referred to as the “religious programming.” I slowly click from station to station and thus from preacher to preacher. I encountered some familiar names and some not so familiar. All, however, had bright smiles, perfectly coiffed hair, and clothing that was quite nice.
As I watched for a bit, I was reminded of some people I have invited to visit the church I pastor. More than once, the invited person has told me that they believed in Jesus but didn’t see much need for the church. They could get all the “good preaching” they needed from Charles Stanley, Joel Osteen, or Joyce Meyers. It was always high quality and could be recorded for viewing when it was most convenient.
It’s hard to argue with such a pragmatic argument. If you’re looking for good preaching, there are plenty of preachers on television to watch. In the past few years, they have even become available and easily accessible on the Internet, too. These preachers are typically a bit more polished and exciting that the ones found in most pulpits – plus they always start on time and end on time. Add to that the fact that you can stay in your pajamas, don’t have to bath, and can eat a bowl of Cap’n Crunch while you’re hearing the Word – what’s not to like! Oh, and there is no offering plate and no one asks you to serve anywhere.
Perhaps some of you are reconsidering your regular attendance at your local church, but hang on a moment. When your toddler is preparing to go into surgery, will Joel Osteen be there to pray with you? When your mother passes away, will Joyce Meyers bring a casserole and give you a hug? When your marriage is falling apart, will Charles Stanley sit down and counsel with you? Where are the fellowship, the encouraging words, and the warm smiles and hugs? You need more than a TV preacher; you need a church family. You need more than first-rate sermon; you need a church family. You need more than a thirty-minute spiritual fix; you need a church family.
A local church is more than just a place to hear a message each week; it is a people to whom you can belong. The Bible depicts the church as the Body of Christ. Each part of that body is important if the body is the function well. You not only need the church; the church needs you. So turn off the TV, put down the remote, and you might want to change out of those pajamas. I’ll see you Sunday.