The Preeminence of the Local Church

Of all organizations, does the local church have preeminence in our lives? In the clip below, Pastor Jeff Saltzmann of Bethel Grace Baptist Church unpacks a quote from the church covenant. What he says is counter-cultural to non-believers and even ruffles the feathers of many professing Christians. Many others would agree with this idea of the preeminence of the local church, but it does not manifest itself in their lives. Our commitment to corporate worship is often nudged out of our lives by other less significant organizations. May this short clip remind us of our need to be united with a local body of believers for weekly worship.

Video Transcript

“We resolve to give [our local church] a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin.” Oh, I love that line. That’s a mouthful, and that’s a wonderful mouthful. We resolve to give this church, this quirky gathering of people called Bethel Grace, we resolve to give it a sacred (this is in God’s sight), a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin.

What is up with that? Because we’re involved with other human institutions. Most of you are in the workforce, aren’t you? Many of you are working 40 or 50 hours a week, and you have other hobbies and things like that. And it’s good, it is good for you to be involved in other organizations, but here’s the thing. What we’re saying is that even in view of all of the other different things we might be a part of, there is something distinct about the local church. It is the epicenter of God’s activity in the world.

Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” God is at work in the local church, and he is calling us to a commitment to the church above all. So that our involvement with other organizations is not going to be allowed to push to the periphery, or nudge out, our devotion to worship and fellowship with the people of God at the church that he is calling us to. This is what the Holy Spirit is going to be leading us in, and this is what we are committing to.

-Jeff Saltzmann

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