/ James Faris

Close to the Body. Good for the Soul.

Living close to the local church’s meeting place is good for your spiritual health. Most of the time, when people move closer to the center of the church community, they grow in the Lord. That’s my general observation from nearly two decades of ministry experience.

How can your spiritual health improve by living close to the church’s meeting location and thereby being closer to your spiritual family?

  • You are more able to participate in worship services, prayer meetings, and other activities of the congregation.
  • You experience deeper friendships in the body of Christ as you spend more time with his people.
  • You are more available to serve the church, especially in short notice situations.
  • You are better positioned to practice hospitality in your home in connection with the church.
  • You can evangelize your neighbors more easily and invite them to church.
  • You intensify the saltiness of your salt and the brightness of your light as you witness together to unbelievers with other saints.
  • You are more motivated to practice stewardship in your own neighborhood and community organizations because all of life’s activities tend to be more integrated.
  • Your children and especially teenagers can be supported with a better base of friendships and more opportunities for mentoring through the week.

Granted, it is not always possible or wise for people to live near the church building or move nearer to it. Factors may include the housing market, job circumstances, transportation options, and more. We must also be clear that living farther from the church is no inherent mark of weaker spiritual health. Some who live at greater distances are more vital than those who live close. But, it usually requires a greater commitment of time and effort to live farther from other saints and thrive.  

Seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness in all the relationships of life is usually best achieved where the relationships of life overlap. As a general rule, it is best to try to live, learn, work, play, shop, and serve in communities that overlap with other people in your worshiping community. The church is not the only place in which we seek first the kingdom of God; we need support in seeking him and his rule in all aspects of life.

What exactly does it mean to live where the relationships of your life overlap in space? The answer will be different in different communities. But, it’s my observation that proximity is more important than we might think initially. Living closer to the body is good for the soul.

James Faris

James Faris

Child of God. Husband to Elizabeth. Father of six. Pastor of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ordained as a pastor in 2003.

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