by Gena Anderson, on the importance of the church family for Christians.
*This post is part of the Reason to Return blog series.

On an ordinary Monday I was getting ready for work and needed to blow dry my hair. I plugged in the dryer and flipped the switch to turn it on, but nothing happened. As I began to troubleshoot, I soon discovered the issue: the plug was broken and unable to connect to the socket. Having recently traveled, I could only guess that my beloved appliance had been damaged while my bag was tossed about. 

Had the blow dryer itself been broken, I think it would have been easier to accept, but I was hesitant to throw out a name brand, high quality, otherwise functional item simply because the plug wasn’t working. I asked my husband if he could fix it: nope. I asked Google, and it can be done, but the risk of an electrical fire was too high. In the end, I had to declare the whole thing unusable, since there was no way to connect it to the power source.

Church Family: Staying Plugged into God

This whole episode stirred my mind about the importance of connection. Consider how electricity works in our modern societies. Energy is generated at a power plant or from a specific source of some kind, and transmitted through lines, and transformers, eventually making its way into our homes. It is only usable once accessed, mostly through the flip of a switch or plugging something in. 

Ephesians 2:18 reminds us that Jesus is our access point to God, the one who made it possible for us to be in relationship with him. Accepting Jesus and seeking to know God are critical for us to know his purposes for our lives.

Romans 12:1-2 says that submitting ourselves to God daily transforms and renews our minds so that we have access to knowing His will. Without the submission, our access is essentially blocked. What is knowable is left covered, and God’s will for our lives remains inaccessible. Just like my hair dryer, all that potential to do good work is left unharnessed minus the ability to plug into the power source.

Church community is another source of power for the individual Christian. We can certainly be Christ followers without community, but it is difficult to be an effective disciple without support.

Ephesians 4 outlines what it looks like to be unified as followers. An excerpt:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:1-6

The result of a Christian community, with believers plugged in and activated, is growth of the kingdom. God gave each of us gifts, but he didn’t give any one individual all the gifts, because He intended us to use our gifts together.

When Your Church Hurt You

You might be thinking, “this all sounds very lovely, but when I did plug into church I was wounded.” Unfortunately, that does happen sometimes. Because churches are full of imperfect people, it’s always a possibility and I’m very sorry that happened to you.

Can I encourage you today to not let Satan use your experience to remove you further away from the source of power that church is meant to be? One of Satan’s favorite methods of work is division through the re-opening of wounds.

If you’ve ever been shocked unexpectedly when plugging something into an outlet, you know that it wouldn’t stop you from trying again with a different one. Why? Because we need power — and plugging in is the best way to get it.

In the same way, we can’t believe the lie that we will definitely be hurt again if we try a new church, or even retry an old one. We can take our church hurt to God, let him heal it, and show us how to re-engage. Let’s not give Satan a foothold by allowing him to infect our wound further. He knows all the God-given potential you have to share His love and power with others.

Separation Means a Dimming Light

Sometimes we fall away from church, not due to wounding, but just a slow drift. The light of community dims so inconspicuously that our eyes get adjusted to the change and accept it as normal.

Separation from other believers is not God’s ideal for you. Being plugged into Christian community requires an intention and understanding why it matters will make that easier. We have to take our plug to the outlet, engage, and remain tethered to the source of power with other Christians. When we let our light go dim, the Kingdom is missing out, because the body of Christ is incomplete. 

Though I ended up getting a new blow dryer and was eventually able to dry my hair, I am thankful God doesn’t throw us out when we are not plugged in. God is merciful and loving, and always offers a new opportunity to be empowered for those who turn back to him.

Isaiah 30:15 says our deliverance is in returning and resting in him. If you are feeling stuck, unusable, or discouraged, God is ready and willing to free you if you are ready and willing to return and let him. And when you do, your next step is to find a group of people who are plugged in and lit up for and by Him.

Catch up on other posts in the series here:

*This post is part of the Reason to Return blog series, leading up to the release of Reason to Return: Why Women Need the Church and the Church Needs Women by Ericka Andersen. Pre-order your copy now!

FREE: Simple Faith Practices for Busy MomsYes, please!