Does In-Person Church Really Matter?
welcome to this episode of real Christianity my name is Dale Partridge reach week I offer 15 to 20-minute answers to tough theological and pastoral this is 100% listener supported audio Ministry of relearn. Org and for those who don't know our mission a tree learn.org is to educate and equip ordinary Christians to plant biblical confessional and missional
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 okay is it critical for Christians to gather in person this is gonna be the topic of discussion but before we begin to just wanted to make one quick announcement guys husband's Listen to It's coming. Time to get your wife some great presents for Christmas and I can tell tell you what you can't have a better present than a good marriage there's nothing better than a Biblical marriage and we offer our program at ultimate marriage.com used to be 199 for over a year and we lowered the price to $99 to six-week biblical marriage course and it's just teaching us how to have a Biblical marriage we talked about the Theology of marriage rolls and finance and socks and children and we talked about all these things and it's a great program to do with your spouse and a great gift to give to your wife is going to Ultimate marriage.com pick that up it's a great way to support our ministry at the same time
 today's question is from Jeff in Oregon or where from here in Oregon and he asks Pastor Dale the church is entering what looks like a very tumultuous time many states and most of Canada are prohibiting the Gathering of churches and it's causing many small churches like mine here in Eugene Oregon to either meet online or in minimal numbers that cannot sustain the financial demands of the church and staff I understand that covid is a real virus and that we need to be considerate of others do you have any advice on how Christian to be thinking about physical Gathering during this difficult season okay great question Jeff I'm going to answer this question quickly today and in short order has been a lot of time on this but I'll start with with this everyone needs to be very patient with their pastors
 as they face this specific discussion lots of pastors are faced with this specific question that you have your Jeff and they have people on many sides yelling at them on one side they have the progressives in the church who live more by politics and fear than by scripture and they want a complete shutdown of the church and they see no issue with the internet Gathering model for the church on the other side you have the Patriot Christians who are more American than they are followers of Jesus and are concerned more about their freedom than they are with the Gathering of the church we however our Biblical Christians who look to the authority of scripture to determine our distinct act and speak and we have to be more concerned about these prohibitions and limits on the physical gathering for one reason and one reason only God cares about the physical Gathering of the church I'm going to discuss this more in a moment that's my first point second point
 I believe that we dug our own grave here in America for the past fifty years or so the church has become a place to go and consume instead of a people to join and contributed what I mean by that is America has made Church centrally a place for inactive Spectators to sit and listen to information and that's what church really is write a weekly Conference Center where information is passed along why do you need to go Gather in person on Sunday anyways if that's the case right can you get the same information from a live stream or an audio recording
 other words if church is simply a weekly event you're presenting content which is recorded later for consumption why should I make it a priority to fight for the physical Gathering of the church now and what's the value of people being present on Sunday if they can do the exact same thing at home which is listen to a handful of worship songs in a sermon and not get other people sick I deserve a good questions that poked some pretty major holes in the modern expression church but these questions stem from both an incorrect definition and an incorrect experience of biblical church church in my opinion is far more than a sermon and worship songs actually did an entire episode on this topic titled can watching an online sermon be considered Church episode 90 if you want to take a listen
 the biblical church is the physical communion and fellowshipping of those who have been redeemed by Christ it's the central local place of weekly edification Which is far more than information K too many pastors at op at edification is solely accomplished by preaching it's not the preaching is critical and maybe even primary but it is not the solitary form of edification of the sink it Christians are ratified by a variety of things that go beyond preaching that from list from just having a listening ear of a pastor to the prayers of their fellow Saints to the laying on of hands in a moment of sickness to the joy and laughter of clothes Brothers and Sisters in Christ to be a correction from a more mature believer and to the confession and repentance of a fellow child of God these are always of edification
 and their critical and this is why there are over one hundred one another's in Scripture that Christianity is a family family is dependent on connection connection is dependent on presents David sadly this is not been the case for Western Christian we don't fight for presents because we're not connected and we're not connected because we don't believe we're family and this is a fundamental flaw in modern Christianity were churchianity and we must rely on ourselves to scripture we must remember that attendance really is a form of Ministry Church is not only for you to receive but also for others to receive from you I think about Hebrews 10:24 through 25 it said let us consider consider this is a main Clause 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 Capital be there the day the day of his return drawing you got to say we are still faced with a dilemma how can we both gather as a family while also respecting the health risks of those who are vulnerable in our communities during this time I thought the internet is not about auction yesterday I tweeted in the same way that you can't raise a child or do marriage over the internet you can't do Church online the internet was a bridge to the real thing it's not the real thing itself and quote now these are blanket statements it doesn't mean that the internet can't function for somebody who might be
 on hospice care righted it's the best that you can have or if you do have asthma extreme asthma you shouldn't be out because of the risks these are again our blankets day Mr General statements not talking about the exception to the rule but in other words what I'm saying in the general sense is that online church and thought of a loud alternative for biblical church can you give you a lot of things on the internet but you cannot do long-term family relationships online in fact many of you will feel this tomorrow as you try to live stream your Thanksgiving dinner with some of your family members and I want you to remember how empty that feels and then think about doing that Weekly with the church just doesn't work people need physical connection the writings. The depression loneliness anxiety anger suicide during the pandemic are definitely evidence of that truth
 the church is both Universal as a body and local as a body and I can't think of a more connected metaphor for the church than what's used in scripture where a body might try living without your arm and you're wasting your thumb in your left leg you can't do it they are connected and so here's my suggestion it's a bit of a doozy so just hold on to your seat for a second because it's not going to be easy but it's what we do here decentralised the church that's that's my thought maybe temporarily maybe you know completely and forever I fought against Christianity break one large Church of say a hundred families into 10 house churches with 10 families each and think of it like a big ship versus 10 lifeboats right but don't however create this mini magisterium multi-site Church model with a pastor acts as the pope and preaches
 messaging everybody that gathers and houses watches it over a TV and sing some assigned worship songs in the answers a few you know pre written questions that is not church that's an organized Bible study at Best in other words just don't don't recreate audience Christianity inside of a house when I'm talking about is fine 10 good-looking qualified men to Pastor 10 churches ten little local churches in to get to find 10 qualified men in your church of a hundred families you just need to leave your church because they're not doing a great job to cycling men to become leaders and if you can find those men and you do have mature men in your church let those men put together a little bit little missional Community little churches and let those men preach let him Shepherd did the family to pray together and take communion with one another operate under the biblical gender roles and structure for the church I let them choose their own worship song
 let them carry out church discipline and counseling and care when they grow let them multiply and other congregations in this keeps Church's small and deeply connected and when people are connected they're more considerate and what I mean by that is that they don't come to church when they're sick they wash their hands to keep people safe they treat one another like a family because they are family culture thinking is a result of intimacy right it's it's difficult to think like a family member in a crowd of 400 but it's different when you stink of yourself and this is why people show up to concerts sick but they won't show up to you know your grandma's house sick or just a different way of thinking that way
 this is a tall order but that's really what we do here in our ministry plant biblical house churches I know that that's not going to be the easiest thing for people to consider but I think a lot of people are actually considering it's a lot of pastors are thinking about this well thinking about this as well and that's again what we do here we trained average mature but average mature Christian men to do this this isn't people that are Ultra gifted and you know I spent their whole life in the Pulpit or you know Piper spiritual these are just people that are Godly men who are mature in the church and there should be many of them in a healthy church and I believe this is needed we need to raise up these men delete out more how strict is naturally believed that biblical Christians whether they want it or not could be gathering in homes in the next 5 to 10 years
 if you're interested in doing this or you know encouraging your church to do this or you would like to personally plant and pastor and a house church we have a school now at the school used to be called Saint Justin we just recently changed the name to Reformation Seminary and you can actually look up in Seymour formation about what we do Reformation cemetery.com so I'm going to leave you guys just with two resources that we know this isn't the most comprehensive answer to this question a lot of you guys are wondering about what principle should we be considering you did wrong if we're gathering with our church with you know 400 people is there are we just abandon Romans 13 on how should we be thinking about all these matters who's right and who's wrong again I'm going to leave that up to your discernment and your conscience is not something in scripture that's going to speak specifically to those matters it's going to be a lot of biblical principles
 but I do think is that a Biblical House Church really is a a good solution because it needs in the middle you don't have you no no church where you're just doing online Churchill physical Gathering but you don't also have maybe you know for 500 people gathering together also so it's a nice up or option that sits in the Middle where you have a handful of families and I believe that really it's it to my experience the most fruitful expression of church it's a wonderful experience to have a Biblical community that feels like family and I really do believe it is ninex the New Testament Church more accurately and the relationships in the intimacy and closeness and connection that you see between Jesus and his disciples more closely you operate in this in the structure you guys with a couple resources that will offer a further understanding on this topic and you can find them on the post page of this episode
 episode is number 121 titled does in-person Church really matter that again that is a absolute yes there's actually a good article that was written on Desiring God by gentleman titled the church Irreplaceable why God's people must The Gather from a different angle I thought it was a pretty good article that I make here in this episode of the video that I did it on our YouTube channel it's titled what is biblical House Church to short 2-minute video might give you some more insight to what we're talking about
 on that note guys if you guys are regular listener we love for you to leave a review to tap the stars in the podcast app or you can write something and I will read it and I'm very encouraged by that we thank you guys for all of those reviews they really do help the exposure to show guests can also follow us on social media relearn on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook you can also follow me on Twitter at the apartment I'm not. It's time to close out hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving my name is Dale Partridge I'll see you next week
thank you for listening to this episode of real Christianity if your regular was no to this show would you personally consider making a donation to support our ministry efforts simply visit relearn. Org forward slash donate again at 3 learn.org for donate and for those looking to explore the idea of joining or planting a church in your home you can download a free pdf ebook title the basics of biblical house after I disagree learn.org for house last week do you have a theological question you would like answered on the show submit your question at relearn. Org forward slash question thanks for joining us on this episode of real Christianity we will see you next Wednesday