Why Church Matters is like your 6 A.M. alarm. It is absolutely necessary, but it can be rather painful. With humility and humor, Joshua Harris walks us through the often-overlooked topic of why church matters.
“The church matters because Jesus chose it to tell and show the world the message of His love.” – pg. 10
In his own words, that is this book boiled down to the core. Throughout this book, there are two things that Harris notes are absolutely essential in a church; commitment and passion. These two things form the foundation for what the majority of the book is about. His seven chapters in this fairly short read move along at a crisp pace, not wasting words on side topics or wandering at all from the main thrust of the book.
Why Church Matters, formerly called Stop Dating the Church is written by bestselling author Joshua Harris who has written numerous books, including I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Dug Down Deep. Having been mentored by popular writer and pastor C.J. Mahaney, Harris has now been made senior pastor of Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Harris is an immensely gifted writer who has mastered, in this book, the balance of giving practical, experiential advice while still leaning primarily on Scripture. He remained solid theologically throughout, sticking mostly to that which is explicitly about the church in Scripture.
In Why Church Matters, Harris powerfully drives home the point that church is not something that is optional for Christians. It is not something that will merely enhance our spiritual lives, it is essential to our spiritual lives. Beyond that, the church plays a major role in God’s plan.
“The things we do together as Christians aren’t extracurricular activities. They’re not optional benefits to be claimed when we find the time. When we worship, pursue godliness, and live God’s Word together, we are expressing an integral part of what it means to be His followers.” – pg. 44
This book was published back in 2004. In our fast-moving world, a book written over a dozen years ago would be irrelevant for many subjects. Interestingly enough, God built the institution of the church to last. Harris’ book is relevant now and shall very well be relevant until Christ raptures His people.
The principles in this book are not specific to a particular generation, time period, or cultural setting. They are relevant for you and me today, tomorrow, and for every year we spend on earth. I believe that this is because what Harris says comes not from his own mind, but from the Word of God, which will never fail.
A thing to consider for this book, should you read it, is that Harris has written this so that it can impact a very large age range. However, not all of his suggestions may be applicable to you, depending on your age. For example, many teens will not decide where they end up going to church—that decision will be made by the parental units. That being said, this book is still full of solid principles by which you can evaluate where your church is at, where you are at, and where the two of you need to be headed.
Harris’ book is one that will remain on my shelf for many years, and I recommend you consider adding it to your own.