Why Bother with Church? Have you every asked this question? Honestly? Why bother with the church? Why is it important? Can’t I just do this whole Christian thing on my own?
Perhaps you haven’t, and if so, amen! Or perhaps you’re among the rest of the majority who has definitely struggled through some of these questions. Or perhaps — hopefully not — you’re among that growing group of Christians who has answered his question with: I don’t have to. I don’t need the church.
A New Book
If you’ve ever thought about these questions, or know someone that has (which probably includes all of us), I want to let you know about a new book by Sam Allberry titled, Why Bother with Church? This new volume is part of The Good Book Company’s excellent series: “Questions Christians Ask.” You may know the author by his popular book in the same series: Is God Anti-Gay?Allberry is a pastor in the UK and a pretty prolific author in recent years.
So what’s the purpose of the book? Allberry answers:
“Church is an effort. It is sometimes hard. And it’s far from normal. So why bother going at all? Why bother making it a priority in your week, every week? Why bother getting stuck in when it means putting yourself out? After all, the park is right there, ready and waiting.
That’s what this book is about. Maybe you’re someone who goes along dutifully to church week by week, but you’ve never been completely sure why. Maybe you’re stuck in and serving hard, but wondering if it’s all worth the effort. Maybe you’re someone who’s commitment to the church has been waning for a while now. Or maybe you’re new to church and you want to know what it is that you’re getting into.
Whoever you are, I hope you’ll find this book realistic and useful. I hope that you’ll grow not just to be bothered, but excited about your church. This book’s last line will be:
Why on earth would I not bother with church? (9)
So how does the author go about answering this question? How does he get us from asking “Why bother with it,” to “Why on earth would I not bother with it?” In a very concise and to-the-point way, and in just 88 pages (and small pages at that), Allberry briefly covers six important questions that help us answer our main question: Why bother with church?
What is church? Fundamental to answering our main question is to have a biblical understanding of what the church is.
Why do I need church? After understanding what the church is, Allberry helpfully shows us that we need the church, and the church needs us.
What makes a good church? Once we’re convinced that church is important, how do we pick one? What makes for a strong, healthy church? Allberry looks to Acts 2 to identify some key components of a good church.
How is a church run? In a very brief way, Allberry looks at different forms of church government, and the officers that lead the church.
How do I survive church? The fact is that if you’re a part of a church for any lengthy time, there will be struggles, disagreements, and even hurt come your way. Allberry looks at 3 of those and how we handle them.
How can I be a good church member? Finally, Allberry makes sure that we understand that the church is not just a consumeristic entity that exists to meet your needs. The church is made up of members, each serving and contributing in his/her own way.
This small book is not a full-orbed treatment of the church. It’s not a full work on ecclesiology. It won’t answer all of your questions about a presbyterian system of church government, or how the ordinances (or sacraments) of baptism and the Lord’s Supper should be administered. But it’s not intended to be that. What it is, instead, is an introduction to the question: “Why Bother with Church?” For the non-reader, or the person just beginning to consider this question, this is a great introductory resource. I would not recommend stopping with this book, but I would recommend starting with it. For what he intended to accomplish, Allberry did a great job.
For a trailer for the book, watch the video below.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank The Good Book Company and Cross Focused Reviews for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.