I am a loner by nature. I have always been shy and reserved. Social interaction for me is actually not easy. It is just part of my make up of who I am. As I have been doing this study on the church I have begun to recognize the importance of fellowship within the body of believers, more specifically within a local church. The Bible makes it so clear that we were designed by God to need one another. In the past I have always been content to accept living on the fringes of the church fellowship. My relative shyness makes it hard for me to interact and relate with others. It takes a long time for me to get to know them. As such I developed a theology that allowed me to only get involved where I have been confortable. I grew in Christ through private worship and devotion. Rarely did I want to be involved in Sunday School or other activities if it involved meeting and interacting with others. I am finding this increasing more difficult. I knew the benefits and blessings of the church family and longed for them, but I knew not how to overcome my social anxieties. Now I pray to God that He will enable me to more freely partake of the gracious blessings that exist to those who are adopted into His family. To serve others and help others grow in Christ and to build up and support the Body that proclaims this precious Gospel.
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
(Rom 12:4-17 ESV)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1Pe 2:9 ESV)
"The Christian life is not just our own private affair. If we have been born again into God's family, not only has he become our Father but every other Christian believer in the world, whatever his nation or denomination, has become our brother or sister in Christ. But it is no good supposing that membership of the universal Church of Christ is enough; we must belong to some local branch of it. Every Christian's place is in a local church, sharing in its worship, its fellowship, and its witness."
John R. W. Stott
John Stott Ministries