Johnathan Leeman of Ligonier Ministries suggests seven reasons the Christian’s growth should be centered on listening to God’s Word in the context of the local church. He writes:
If spiritual life comes through the Word of God (Isa. 55:10–11; Rom. 10:17; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23), why not skip church with all its hassles and just devote yourself to studying the Bible? Think of the time you would save, not to mention the relational trouble.
Or, better, why not download the three best podcast preachers every week and listen to them? Chances are that they are better preachers than old Pastor Bob down the street anyway. Can I get an “Amen”?
I suspect most Christians would have a vague sense that there is something wrong with this counsel. But the fact that we expect so little from our preachers in terms of biblical exposition, the fact that precious few seconds are devoted to actually reading the Bible in our weekly gatherings, the fact that we give scarcely a thought to not staying up late Saturday night so that we’re not drifting off in the middle of Sunday’s sermon all suggest that we don’t really apprehend the tight link between listening to the Word in church and our individual and corporate growth as Christians.