Many Christians today think that the Christian life is to be lived in isolation from the local church. Some Christians also don’t see the need to continue to listen to sermons. We are living in a rapidly biblical illiterate church culture where people may know enough about the Bible to answer some questions but not enough to grow in God’s grace. This is a real problem that pastors and ministry leaders face.
Thankfully Sam Allberry has written a very helpful book Why Bother with the Church and Other Questions About Why You Need It and Why It Needs You that will help Christians to understand clearly and simply from the Bible what the church is, why it is both brilliant and frustrating, and why it is wonderful to be part of.
The author in six chapters considers the nature and purpose of the church, how to pick a local church, what makes a good local church, baptism, and communion. Along with these subjects, the author considers small groups, male-only eldership, the place of denominations, surviving hurt from the church, how one can be a good member of a local church.
This book interested me because I’m not only engaged in local church ministry but also broader ministry outside of the church. As one who writes on issues related to the church, I wanted to see not only how Sam wrote on the subjects he addressed (he did a very good job) but the manner in which he wrote on them.
It’s easy to say, “Well there’s all these issues in the Church” and never address them in substance. Or, we can address them and never speak the truth in love. Instead, we critique the church and hurt people. This isn’t Sam’s approach at all. Instead, Sam takes us to the Word of God, walks us through what Scripture teaches, and helpfully, and practically explains each question.
Many people today struggle with the church. Some people struggle with the local church because they’ve been hurt by it. Others don’t see the place of preaching in the local church and view it as outdated to have someone give a “talk”. Still, others don’t believe in local church membership. Others, even more, are confused about baptism, communion, and many other issues. Wherever you are at on this spectrum, I believe Why Bother with the Church? will help you to see the place and significance of the local church in the life of the Christian.
The local church it’s been said is the hope of the world. We all have questions that need answers. Sam’s book provides some very helpful answers to questions you may be struggling with. At only six chapters it’s likely that some questions don’t get answered. He hasn’t written a definitive book on the subject. Instead, he’s written on some of the biggest questions people ask and don so very helpfully and biblically.
I highly recommend this book and encourage all who are wondering about church membership or a variety of other issues to pick up this book, read, and be instructed by Sam’s winsome and biblical answers.