â€œâ€¦not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.â€ – Hebrews10:25
Have you ever thought of the similarities of the local church and the neighborhood bar?
In both places:
1. People come looking for fellowship.
2. People want to go where others know their name.
3. People want to go where they are accepted.
4. People want to go where their spirits will be lifted.
5. People are united around one theme.
6. People go where they like the music.
Like a priest, the bartender serves by listening to peopleâ€™s troubles. But the differences are profound: The bar is centered on booze and the church is centered on Jesus Christ.
The bar offers a way to escape problems. The church offers a way to face them, get through them, and overcome them.
The spirit inside the bar lowers oneâ€™s guard when it comes to temptation and sin. The spirit of the true church encourages people to turn from sin and turn to God.
In short, the neighborhood bar may be a substitute for the environment of the church, but it never comes close to providing the meaning and purpose found in a Christ-centered church.