By Stewart Holloway
PINEVILLE, La. – Recently, a former church member messaged me for prayer. The situation is devastating, and Rebecca and I are covering it in prayer. To be asked to join this individual in prayer as a former pastor and friend was a humbling blessing. Other than a social media comment here or there, we haven’t had much interaction in many years, but, when crisis came, the relationship that began in church many years ago was as strong as ever. Even more, though, I was encouraged to learn that this person is established in a church in their new city, and those people are helping this family through their challenging season.
While most of life is wonderful, it can get a little “wonky” at times. Life can be difficult, disappointing, and even devastating.
As a pastor, I’ve watched men and women walk away from their families, children disappoint their parents, diseases threaten life, death take loved ones, addictions demand prominence, marriages grow cold, finances dwindle, and more. But also as a pastor, I have seen the church minister in those situations – praying with the individual or family, providing for various needs, offering encouragement, practicing the ministry of presence, and much more. To the person, these people in crisis have said, “I don’t know what I would have done without my church family.”
Of course, it’s not just in bad times that the church is there. I’ve seen the church celebrate with families the blessings of life. The receptions, showers, weddings, birthday parties, and celebrations are endless. On those occasions, the laughter and joy is immeasurable.
Do you need the church? Absolutely! Burdens are halved and joys are doubled in the family of God. Galatians 6:2 encourages us to carry one another’s burdens. Romans 12:15 says to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. That’s why our church says, “We do life together.”
If you are not currently plugged into a church or you have drifted away from your church, I encourage you to find one or get back this Sunday. You need the church. And the other people in the church need you.
Stewart Holloway is pastor of First Baptist Church in Pineville. This editorial first appeared on his Facebook page.