26th September 2018

Church—Support Group For Sinners?

“Some people have stopped going regularly to our Christian meetings, but we must not stop going there. Then we can help each other to be strong Christians. You should do this more and more, because the Lord’s great day is coming.”
Hebrews 10:25 (Easy English)

I kid myself that one day I will lose sufficient weight to fit into my favourite clothes and return to the fitness levels of my prior years. Notwithstanding the ravages of getting older, is this possible? It would seem the answer is yes. If an 80-year-old granny can take up fitness training in her 50’s and run marathons in her 80’s, why can’t I? Yet self-discipline can be a moving target without help and support from others around us!

No doubt helpful, but perhaps indicative of today’s society where mobile phones and tablets act as conduits for pseudo-human contact, mobile ‘apps’ and web-based portals are being developed as alternative ‘self-helps’ to manage conditions such as diabetes and depression. And now we have Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa. But do these ‘apps’ successfully remove the need for people?

Whether it’s Weightwatchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Homestart, as evidenced by multiple research studies , the principle remains that social relationships formed with people we meet with regularly are key to helping us overcome obstacles we face throughout life.

Perhaps not everyone warms to the term ‘support group’, but the fact is they are proven to help people. Online you will find a support group for just about anything—dealing with bereavement, depression, drug/alcohol addiction, living with cancer, being a carer, suffering from various diseases and disabilities—the list is endless. No wonder the scripture above urges ut that we should not forsake meeting together as some have done.

Church is many things; the body of Christ; a forum for worship, and it is also a support group for sinners. If James wrote ‘confess your sins to each another’ (James 5:16 NIV), is this not so we can help and support one another? All of us have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23 NIV) and each of us can support others to overcome. Regular church attendance is one more tool in our box to help us overcome sin. Lions pick off lone prey, not those who are part of a group.

Cognisant of the grace we are all under, and legitimate reasons some may have stopped attending , let’s support and encourage each other to meet regularly. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11; “tell these things to each other so that you do not feel sad or weak. Help each other to become stronger as believers, as you are doing already”, that is, helping each other overcome sin in our lives in a way that is loving, respectful and sensitive to our spiritual family’s needs.

Lord God, we thank you that in supplying our every need, you provide safe havens for us to meet regularly to worship and be with you. Help us to encourage and support each other as we overcome sin in our lives.

Study by Irene Tibbenham


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921311/ Social Support and Resilience to Stress

About the Author:
Irene Tibbenham is a Deaconess and serves on the Pastoral Council in the Norwich Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

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