Love your Local Church

James Burstow | May 26th 2021

Church leaders and members everywhere are working out how to ‘be church’ amongst all the disruption COVID-19 has caused. For some that means re-starting in-person services and ministries as restrictions lift. For others, there are many restrictions still to consider and much activity remains online.

While some church members can’t wait to throw themselves back into things, others are feeling much more hesitant, for all sorts of reasons. Some are anxious, after over a year of shielding and social distancing. Some are reluctant, having enjoyed the break from stacking chairs, making coffee or volunteering for kids ministry. And some have disengaged, perhaps tuning in to online services from churches elsewhere in the world, or taking a break from church altogether.

"It’s going to take time, creativity and commitment to encourage and inspire the wider church family to get back involved in the various activities that have been put on hold over the past year"

Many of us have been blessed by books, podcasts, livestreams and youtube videos over the past year, not to mention virtual meetings and catch ups via video conferencing platforms and encouragements on social media. But the Bible is clear that being a committed member of a local church is the best way to be encouraged and challenged, as well as to serve others and be a witness to friends and neighbours in our community. As the writer to the Hebrews puts it;

“...let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Although “normal” may forever be a bit different for churches, one thing is for sure: it’s going to take time, creativity and commitment to encourage and inspire the wider church family to get back involved in the various activities that have been put on hold over the past year but which all contribute to a healthy and vibrant local church. 

Which is why we’re thrilled to be launching Love Your Church, a timely new book by Tony Merida which explores what church is, why being part of it is so exciting, and why it’s worthy of our love and commitment. It is just the right book to read together as a church family as you remind each other to love your church (not just attend), and to see your local church as your church, a place where uniquely you can grow in your faith, serve your brothers and sisters in Christ and reach out with the gospel. 

Love Your Church

Love Your Church

$14.99 $12.74

Be inspired to grow in your love for and commitment to your local church as you understand what it means to belong to God’s family.

Here are a couple of suggestions for how you might use this resource in your church:

  1. Read Love Your Church as a congregation as you start gathering again with the aim of having a big church celebration/ re-launch of all activities on a particular Sunday—scheduled according to when might be appropriate in your particular context. You could even call it Love Your Church Sunday!

  2. Use the FREE small group kit that corresponds with the book. A range of free supporting materials, including videos, discussion guides and worksheets, are available. These will help you to apply the book’s concepts in your church context and are ideal for small groups. Go to and download the materials. 

  3. Host a special event or service like Love Your Church Sunday. Set aside a Sunday to celebrate re-gathering or another milestone related to re-opening. You might use this Sunday to launch this small group material alongside your other church ministries and activities. It could be a great way to remind people of why church is special as you get things going again. 

However you use it, our hope and prayer is that this will be a valuable resource as you work together to re-launch the full program of church activities that you’ve built up under God over many years and that you enjoy the return to in-person teaching, fellowship and even singing!

James Burstow

James' role as Commercial Director encompasses marketing, sales and customer service. Before joining TGBC he spent time in Chile and Japan teaching English before becoming a fundraiser for Great Ormond Street Hospital. He is the senior elder at Grace Church Worcester Park.

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