Many people have been told recently that online “church” is a fine substitute for church. I have written articles listing 8 reasons why I find that to not be true. You can read them here (link) and here (link).
One of the reasons I think we still need (and are called to gather) as local believers regularly is to hear live, local preaching from a pastor. Let me give you six benefits of belonging to a local church, and hearing live preaching from that church weekly.
#1 Emotional Appeal
In Scripture pastors are told to give exhortation. This is “a strong encouragement or urging someone to do something.” As any parent knows, when you are in the presence of a child, your encouragement for them to do the right things bears more weight. It is the same with live preaching.
#2 Local Issues
While God’s Word is the same for everyone, it can be applied differently within different contexts. Often different people around different parts of the country and world struggle with different sins, and opportunities to do good works. Local preaching allows local pastors to address those things by knowing his congregation and community.
#3 Pastoral Accountability
A local church is called to keep their pastor accountable to the truth. There are false teachers out there who distort God’s Word. A local church can keep tabs on a pastor unlike internet preachers who have no official church and answer to no one (other than maybe those giving him money).
#4 Sequence of Sermons
Often, but not always, those who listen to online preaching jump around from pastor to pastor. We have a plethora of online sermons, even by great theologians and pastors easily available. Staying in a local church to hear regular preaching allows us to stay connected to a topical or book study and hear a flow of sermons.
#5 Listener Accountability
In a local church there is accountability of the listener. If we listen online alone, we can easily hear and do nothing with the information. God warns us about this (see James 1:22-24). In a local church growing together, when someone is sinning and that sin has been addressed, we can remind each other of what we have heard from the Word.
#6 Pastors Know Their Congregations
This connects with the idea of addressing local issues. As a pastor gets to know his people individually and corporately, he begins to see where they are and need to go. He knows that if they are on step 5 of sanctification in an area, he can take them to step 6, but probably not step 9 yet. He knows the needs, pains, and celebration of the people, and can help tailor his sermons to them.
What benefits do you see with being a part of a local church? What do you appreciate about live preaching? How do you benefit from knowing your pastor and him knowing you?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.