• 75°

We still need the church

By Joseph Perry

Do you need the church?

The church building is a place where people from all different walks of life come to express how they feel about God through worship, and it is also a place to gather to petition God for our deepest needs. The church has a unparalleled presence in the life of the community. We need the church in our lives. We still need a place of worship, especially in these unprecedented times.

I was asked by a middle-aged man several days ago to pray for him, because he was going through some things. He said, “I have some overwhelming challenges. My bills are behind. I have more money going out than I have coming in. It’s a bad place to be when you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.” The man shared with me that his blood pressure was up. He said, “I’m stressed to the max, and my wife’s sugar level keeps going up. My kids don’t have school clothing money.” He said, “Pastor, I am going through a lot. I need you and your church to pray for us.” I immediately started to pray.

I saw him the following Monday as we crossed paths down a hallway. I said, “Hello my friend, I’ve been praying for you, and how was the conference call into church yesterday?” He said, “Oh, I didn’t go on the conference call today, it was such a beautiful day outside. I had a lot I really needed to do. My wife and I sat under the tree for a while and played with the dog, then we went down to some friends’ house and watched some movies, cooked on the grill around 12, then we came back home and sat on the porch. We had a great day.”

He said, “We didn’t go to church like that. We attended maybe once or twice a month. But did you all pray for us when you were on your conference church call?”

Let me tell you, so many thoughts were running through my head, because you want me to get on a call and pray, while you sit under a tree, and later go to a friend’s house. We need the church for so many reasons. We know that God is everywhere. He’s in our homes, and on our jobs. But we need to make sure we are connected to the church. The place He has provided for us to show our expression of love. The church should be where we come to celebrate God for all He’s done, and for what he’s doing in our lives. We still need the place of worship in the midst of all we are going through in life.

In Acts 2, we see the church in its earliest existence. The power of the Holy Spirit was present.

The church was growing, and powerful. The church is designed to help the hurting. It is designed to help those who need hope. The church is designed to help those recognize spiritual gifts.

I don’t know about you, but I need the church. Every time I go in I express to the God who woke me up this morning, the God who gives us a reasonable portion of health and strength. The one who fights our battles and heals all of our diseases. I need the church to be able to come in this place to express my connection with others, sharing my love for Him. I know we are unable to gather in right now, but we need to continue to connect.

You still have time for the movies. You still have time to sit under a tree and play with your dog. You’ve got time to still cook on the grill, but we need to enter in His gates with thanksgiving, and into His court with praise. Shout to Him that you need Him and His church! As we stay safe, let us remember God’s place of worship is still the centerpiece of our community.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Perry is pastor of St. Mark AME Zion Church. Contact him at josephp134@gmail.com.