When you talk to Christians online these days, more and more consider themselves “unchurched.” That means that they actively believe in God and even serve Him but are not affiliated with any local congregation. Some say that God has called them out of an apostate church and hasn’t sent them anywhere else. Some just say, “There are no good churches” near them. But the Bible is clear in Hebrews 10:25. We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves, and so much more as we see the Day of the Lord approaching. While a brick-and-mortar church isn’t necessarily a requirement, flesh and blood brothers and sisters are. Here are three good reasons not to quit searching for a group of like-minded believers.
The idea of a spiritual covering means that Christians, as both individuals and ministries, are not only supposed to be submitted to God but must also be in submission to an earthly leader/elder. It’s like the chain-of-command on the job. God holds the pastor/leader accountable for leading his group. He prays for his people. He also uses his discernment to watch for any signs that his sheep might be off track or in need of guidance. In turn, his flock submits to his leadership. The ministry is a calling, and God equips those He calls.
God showed me early on that I needed a spiritual covering. He saved me in 2012, and I was unchurched for six years as He taught me to hear His voice. During that time, I was involved in an online forum under Nathan Leal of Watchman’s Cry. As a brand-new Christian, I didn’t know much, but I knew Nathan was my covering. My offering went to his ministry, and through interactions on his forum, he was a guide to me. Later, God sent me to my current local congregation. (See that story here: The Day I Let God Choose a Church for Me.) As soon as He did, He made it clear that I was to submit to my pastor’s leadership. Almost one year to the day that I joined my church, He gave me my blog.
One Small Note
If you search “spiritual covering” online, you will find a host of negative articles. The website Got Questions explains the problem as well as any of them. It has to do with the term’s origin. It started in the disastrous charismatic Shepherding Movement which led to various levels of abuse of authority. It’s important to note that the enemy will seek to defile anything that is good and right in the sight of God. When it comes to your own spiritual covering, make sure that you pray and allow God to choose (or show you) yours.
YouTube and social media are filled with preachers, teachers, prophets, and wanna-be’s these days. With good marketing or a gimmick, anyone can get into the Bible game. But that’s not how things were done in the early days of the church. In Acts 13, the Bible tells us that the church at Antioch prayed, fasted, and laid hands on Saul (Paul) and Barnabus before sending them out to minister. Not only that, but there are two verses to suggest that they were later held to account for the things they did on their missions. Acts 14:27 and Acts 15:4 both mention reports to the church.
Every true Christian has a ministry. We use the gifts God has given us to help people and bring glory to God. Whether your ministry is a public ministry (like a blog, YouTube channel, outreach, or evangelism) or a private one (on-the-job, in your neighborhood, or on your Facebook feed), accountability is important. Others in your group should be able to see what you are doing (or at least hear from you about it). They should also be able give you feedback and encouragement.
Not only that, but you should be actively praying for and requesting prayer from your group. It’s our duty to hold each other up in prayer. In fact, we just can’t make it without each other’s prayers in these last days.
Finally, fellowship is important. That just means “friendly associations.” Let’s face it. Everybody needs friends. But if you aren’t friends with a group of like-minded believers, chances are you will find your friendship with the world. (And that can be a very dangerous place to be.) 2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’”
In these last days, things are getting darker. More and more people are calling good evil and evil good. A close group of Christian friends is more important than ever to keep our spiritual compasses pointing the right way. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that “iron sharpens iron.” That just means that we, as Christians, can influence each other for the better.
Don’t Forsake the Assembling
The term “Lone Ranger Christian” is applied to those who have, for whatever reason, refused to submit themselves to a body of believers. They don’t want a pastor to lead them, they don’t want to be accountable, and they don’t even need other Christians for prayer and friendship. But this is not the attitude of the meek (submissive) that will inherit the earth. It’s also not the system that God has designed. We are meant to be parts of a whole, not the whole in and of itself. Whether you meet at a church or a home group, whether in-person or online, interaction and accountability are key. We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves, for the Day of the Lord is at hand.
If you don’t have a church that is biblically acceptable near you, you might check out this video from The Fuel Project. It’s called Do We Need to Attend Church Regularly? At the end, it gives a link where you can sign up to find house churches/small groups in your area. As an alternative, Times Square Church, the church David Wilkerson started, posts sermons on YouTube and offers online home groups.
Like articles about 3’s? Try The 3 Levels of Sampson and Submission to God. Or, try The 3 Things to Remember When Iniquity Abounds. Please subscribe in the upper right corner (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel. There, I read my blogs out loud and have a playlist of hymns from my church. Far from boring, they are fast, sassy, and anointed hymns and gospel songs.