As Paul wrote his young protege, Timothy, he spoke about the key program of God for this dispensation: the local church: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1Tim.3:15). Sadly, though, amongst many believers this is not their attitude. They do not get involved in one, claiming they can worship God best on their own, they flit around through their lives from church to church leaving at the first inkling of a conflict or criticizing the pastor behind his back claiming to “not be growing” without first looking at self or disagreeing with him about something. And not “manning up” to go to him humbly, giving him the benefit of the doubt to settle any differences as Matthew 18 was taught by our Savior.
In our church, I have noticed through the years folks who routinely come up to me after a service and thanking me for the message while others quietly slip out and seldom or never offer some word of thanks for the preaching of the Word, if even to say they thank God that it is preached despite the messenger, ha ! The happiest folks are those who will express gratitude. Then there is the parachurch crowd, who will use a church’s members, and tap a church’s resources while never truly supporting that local church and in fact sometimes even spreading division in it to bolster their own organization ! As a pastor now for a quarter of a century I see why my pastor while in seminary ranted so against such ministries !! They are very often parasitic and do not have the scriptural basis the local church does.
The Lord puts a high premium on the local church, so shouldn’t we as well? Look at the titles of most New Testament books. They were written either to local congregations or about how to organize them (like the Pastor epistles). Revelation includes seven letters to seven literal local churches. Acts details the start and progress of the early churches and even in the Gospels Jesus spoke in future terms of the church that he was going to establish “. . . upon this rock will I build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt.16:18).
October is Pastor Appreciation month so I certainly encourage you to do just that (not just because I’m a pastor) for he needs the appreciation as any believer does, but appreciate your church by encouraging each other. In our church, we have great folks who love the Lord and are faithful to His church here, some who have put up with me around two decades now ! God has brought us, and likely your church too, newer members (some with much rougher edges), show them the love of Christ and minister to them as you would like to be ministered to if you were new to the church. Show your support in your tithes, your service, attendance to the services and activities, and especially your prayers.
Whenever anyone (and Satan loves to use even friends, family members, and people you consider to be wise) criticizes your church you stand with it and your pastor and fellow church members ! The only expection being when there is clear and unconfessed sin where you can no longer stand with a church that has compromised the precious Word of God. Remember, the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (God’s especially designated platform to reach this old world and strengthen your family), you need it and God needs you in it !!