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20 Quotes from Sam Allberry’s (Brief) Book on Church

The following quotes caught my attention as I read Sam Allberry’s excellent and accessible book Why Bother with Church? And Other Questions About Why You Need It and Why It Needs You (Good Book, 2016).


Just as the U.S. embassy in London is considered a part of U.S. sovereign territory overseas in a foreign land, so the local church is a small part of heavenly territory in this world. (17)

People don’t enter a church; the church enters a building. (17)

The church depends on the truth. But there is also a way in which God’s truth depends on the church: not that the church approves or decides on what the truth is, but that the church is the means by which God’s truth reaches into his world. The church is the earthly outlet for God’s truth, the embassy that represents him. (19)

The day of Jesus’s return will be a wedding feast—and Christians are invited to it not as guests, but as a bride. None of us will have to sneak into heaven through the back door—we’ll be walking up the aisle. (21)

If you want to understand how committed Jesus is to the church, here’s your answer. He doesn’t just create it and let it be. He marries it. . . . Church is not his hobby; it is his marriage. (22, 23)

The membership of every local church is no accident; it is by divine design. There is no one there who is a spare part, a third foot, or second nose. There is no one there who is not necessary, or who doesn’t need the rest of their church. (37)

If the church is worth Christ’s blood, then it is certainly worth its leaders’ labor. (61)

We want to be in a church with small groups, not a church of small groups. The main center of church life is the whole gathering, not the small groupings. (66)

The very things that make church hard work are often the things that make it great. (72)

The only perfect church is the heavenly assembly, and this does not meet at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday a short drive from your house. So until you’re called to join the throng around God’s throne, you’re called to belong to a church in which others will get things wrong—and so will you. (73)

Church is not for your entertainment, as a consumer, but for you and others to find encouragement, as a contributor. (75)

It is almost impossible to overstate the positive impact we can have on others if we are coming [to church] looking for ways in which to be an encouragement. (76)

Are we praying regularly for our church? The answer to that question is a good indication of whether we’re coming as Christians, or as consumers. (76)

You need a church, and there’s a church out there that needs you. (80)

All the church is and does cannot be ultimately accounted for by the usual measurements of this world. (81)

Church is not something we go to but something we belong to. (84)

Nothing helps us feel that we belong to a body of people more than regularly praying for them. Unfamiliar names become familiar, and we find that the more we pray for people, the more we find ourselves caring for them. If you’ve never really felt as if you’ve belonged at your church, try praying for the other members, by name and regularly. (87)

Remember that pastors are church members too. They need the same pastoral care as anyone else. . . . I remember one church member being quite shocked when I told her I was going though a period of struggling with my devotional life. We need to let our pastors be Christians, not putting them on any kind of pedestal and assuming that the Christian life just happens automatically for them, but getting alongside them, encouraging and supporting and loving them. (91)

In God’s church we find something worth being devoted to—an embassy of God’s kingdom, a family of God’s people, the bride of the Lord Jesus. It is remembering what the church is, and whose the church is, that makes hard work glad work, and keeps us joyfully devoted. (92)

Once we grasp Christ’s deep affection for the church, we cannot help but begin to share it. (92)


Previously in the “20 Quotes” series:

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