Are you planted? This is a topic that has been on my heart. I want to talk about the importance of being planted in a church where your roots grow deep, your leaves are green and your good fruit is shared. Planted next to some other plants, because God has a beautiful garden He is cultivating.
About ten years ago now, I realized I needed to get serious about serving the Lord. I sought Him and He directed me to attend a certain church. Now, the first time I went to a service at this place, I literally cried in the car afterwards because it felt like such a long service! I wanted to go to a church that had quick sermons and lots of members so I could hide in the crowd. But I knew that I knew that I knew that I had to go to this church. I now know it was the Lord leading me.
After taking the leap to attend regularly, I began to develop friendships and soon had a wonderful lady mentoring me. I learned so much about the Lord and experienced Him in incredible ways as He ministered to me through other people. I started to grow in my gifts and discovered I could do things I never knew I could or would. I grew leaps and bounds in the Lord and was completely transformed as a person!
Walking With Others
Gad has a plan and He has a people. The Scriptures paint this picture from Genesis to Revelation. God has always had a remnant of people who corporately seek Him. The truth is we need each other! God has set it up this way and it sure helps to keep us humble (which is a really good thing!). I need your help and you need mine because we each have something the other doesn’t.
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. - Proverbs 27:17
Iron Sharpens iron and oh how the sparks fly! When you put a bunch of imperfect, broken, sinful people in a room and have them work together, not everyone is going to get along which shouldn’t surprise us one bit. God uses other people to “sharpen”, or teach and refine us to become more like Him. People in the church may rub us the wrong way, offend us, hurt us, make us feel insecure, jealous, etc., but this is not necessarily a reason to leave the church. We need to allow God to root out the sin in our lives that gets exposed by those around us.
I have witnessed a type of people I have dubbed “church hoppers”. These are people who continuously change churches. They begin to develop relationships in a church then something happens where they become offended by someone or something. They fail to deal with the root issue of why they are offended, and it keeps on happening over and over because the root issue of sin in their heart never gets dealt with. They don’t allow God to plant them where their roots can go deeper in order for them to grow spiritually. Maybe they are running from God when He puts His finger on a certain area in their life that needs healing.
The Sheep in the Pen
An excellent illustration of the importance of communing together is that of the sheep in the pen. The Church is like a sheep pen where the sheep safely graze and are cared for by their Shepherd. Wherever the sheep go, they go as a whole flock with the Shepherd. When someone is disconnected from the Church, they are like a lone sheep that wanders away from the pen. They no longer have the same protection from the Shepherd or the other sheep and are vulnerable to the wolves and wild animals around them in search of prey. When you are planted in a church there is protection. And in these dark days, you want that, trust me you do. It is easy for people to follow their own way where they are not submitting to the authority of God. Let’s not find ourselves walking down a path of destruction like those in the book of Judges where the people, “did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
The five-fold ministry
Many of you are probably familiar with the scripture in Ephesians 4 which talks about what we call the five-fold ministry:
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ… Ephesians 4:11-12
God has given us leaders who, as we see in this Scripture, are vital for us to grow. They equip us to serve the Lord and help bring the body of Christ into unity. We must honor our leaders and be very careful what we say about them. We must be careful not to try to manipulate or control them for our own advantage and we must submit to them in a godly way out of reverence for the Lord. God appoints and places authority in our lives. Many people are in rebellion against authority so they refuse to submit to their leaders or attend church. They are actually in rebellion against God and run from accountability.
We need shepherds to help with God’s flock. If the sheep ruled the church, there would be chaos! God trains up His leaders through testing and trials so they can minister to His people (God through them). Many sheep do not have the character or grace (Eph. 4:7) to be in a position of leadership - not all are five-fold ministers.
Worship is such an important part of gathering with other believers and a huge blessing! We are God’s priests and our worship actually ministers to Him and touches His heart. And of course our wonderful God pours it back onto us! Many times we witness miraculous healings, deliverance, chains broken, hearts melted and repentance during corporate worship. You may walk into a worship service and have ungodly things instantly broken off of you. We can usher in the Presence of God in a powerful way different than when we worship alone at home, when we worship in spirit and truth together.
…but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord… (Ephesians 5:18-19)
During praise and worship, we each bring a special piece of the puzzle. Each one can have a psalm, hymn, spiritual song or prophetic word to edify the church.
Are you Planted?
I want to encourage you to get planted in a church body if you currently aren’t. Pray about where the Lord wants you to attend church and get plugged in to Him! We must submit to God and the plan He has for His people as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). Get planted and you will be amazed at the transformation God will bring to your life!
- Elizabeth McLellan