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Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,163 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
"Christians belong in churches--the only places where we can thrive and grow spiritually. In Why Church Matters, Joshua Harris makes this case with wisdom, clarity, and graciousness."
--Charles W. Colson

Church isn't where we go. It's who we are.

We were never meant to live our faith in isolation. The church is the place God uses to grow us, encourage us, and use our gifts fo
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Multnomah (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,514)
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Mar 19, 2008 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book that opened my eyes and helped me realize my responsibility to my local church. I especially enjoyed the thoughts on attending church as a consumer vs. a communer. Consumers critique and analyze the singing, the sermon, the experience. A communer is there to stand before the "Audience of One".

Favorite quotes/paraphrases from the book:

"As the meeting (Sunday church service) starts, remember that you're not here to be entertained. You're not part of an audience - you're part of a c
Michael d'Offay
Sep 06, 2012 Michael d'Offay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
Sometimes a little book comes along which totally surprises me. This is one of them and it deals with dating… or more specifically.. dating the church.

I know many people who want to grow in red hot relationship with Jesus but they are lukewarm at best towards Jesus’ family. Josh Harris reminds us that God’s plan is that we love Jesus passionately but also his people passionately and he shares his own personal journey from being a ‘church-dater’ to church lover.
What I enjoyed about this book is
Sep 11, 2012 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church
I am reviewing the updated version of this book elsewhere (now titled, "Why Church Matters") so will not provide a full review here, but here are some of criticisms:

1. This book is addressed to people who have intellectual doubts about why the church is important and does not address pastoral concerns of those who have been seriously wounded by the church. As I read this book I thought of people I know with 'Church Angst' and found that Harris either is unaware of the ways in which churches can
May 31, 2008 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in discipling
Recommended to Charles by: Brandon Stewart
Shelves: theology
An amazing book that paints a beautiful picture of the purpose of church and how we're supposed to interact with it. Although Joshua Harris has done a phenomenal job with providing examples and personal stories, he sets up quite an idealistic example of the church. This isn't bad, but in some ways the book came across as a to do list. It's still good though that he shows how a church should operate, and gives us a great idea of what we should be striving for at the least.

I definitely don't agree
Nate LaClaire
Jun 13, 2011 Nate LaClaire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We are a generation of consumers, independent and critical. We attend church, but we don’t want to settle down and truly invest ourselves. We’re not into commitment — we only want to date the church. Is this what God wants for us?

In Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God, bestselling author Joshua Harris says no, God’s purpose for Christians involves a deep commitment to a local church. This commitment involves far more than showing up on Sunday to sing, chat, and listen to
Jul 13, 2013 Mindi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in an effort to improve my attitude toward the local church. The author seems to be in the reformed neo-Calvinist camp, so we don't agree on certain theological issues, but he makes enough good points to make the book worth reading because almost no one else is writing books about why we ought to be committed to the local church. I say that with this caveat: some of the stuff in this book ought to be removed with a black permanent marker.

For instance: "If you are not a member of
Clark Goble
Oct 25, 2012 Clark Goble rated it really liked it

Harris states his goal in writing this book is to help his readers "get connected and committed to a solid local church." This short work certainly serves to accomplish his purpose. Harris hooked me by chapter 2 when he explored what it meant for Christ to call the Church His bride. Harris' passion for His own bride reminded me of how I feel about mine ... and the thought that Christ views His Church in same manner ... lets just say Harris really helped rekindle my love of the church.

Harris mak
Rock Rockwell
Oct 08, 2007 Rock Rockwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Church Hoppers
With the "anti-church" movement against "organized religion" among some today, it is good to hear a godly young man write with passion on the need to marry a church (and quit dating it). Harris provides a simplistic and heart-felt cry to Christians to put your heart into the Bride of Christ and marry her! Our church gave every High School graduate this book one year and many enjoyed it, but most probably did not go to church while in that next year of college (except on Christmas and Easter brea ...more
Shaun Lee
Feb 02, 2016 Shaun Lee rated it really liked it
Growing up, the most narrow minded and dogmatic people I knew were Christian leaders. It seemed like the higher up the ladder they were, the more unpleasant they were. If going into ministry (or "serving God") meant that I would become like them, I wanted to have nothing to with it.

Fast forward a few years, a loving pastor from another church mentored me from the days that I was anti-Christian, to today when I am a final year Bachelor student in Bible School. I still struggle to see why going to
Aug 13, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A practical guide to what you should think about and consider before choosing a church. I found the information in this book to be extremely well researched and thought provoking. Joshua Harris did an excellent job of telling you what you should look for and then explaining exactly why you need to meet those standards. I'd recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Nov 15, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Superb book! Most every congregation struggles with people who choose not to commit to the church, or can't see the reason to do so. Josh Harris here presents a very simple, Scriptural case for committing to the local church and giving it a high priority in one's life. It's a very quick, easy read.
Jan Donegani
Aug 03, 2016 Jan Donegani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short book which reminds us of the importance of the church to Christ and the importance we should therefore place on commitment to a local church . Josh Harris makes the case that it is not Biblical to live as an independent Christian even if that seems culturally natural. Every Christian should: commit to join a local church; make it a priority in his life; make his pastor’s job a joy; find ways to serve; and connect with the church community beyond the church building and official f ...more
Rachel Jung
May 24, 2014 Rachel Jung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joseph McBee
Aug 21, 2011 Joseph McBee rated it really liked it
What an excellent book!

Joshua Harris loves the church, but it is not a love that blinds him from all of the warts and stains the church has. He looks at the church with an honest view but he still understands the Biblical truth regarding God's people and he clings to that truth tenaciously.

Each chapter in this book is tightly and well-written and rich with theology and Biblical exposition. Yet each chapter can be easily understood and applied by anyone. No higher degrees in Biblical studies or t
Jan 05, 2011 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gives a fresh call to the world to become radical church-livers. It screams at you from the first page to commit to your church...because that is what God has for you. As you dig into this powerful book, Josh lays out strong practical applications based solely on great insight into the Word. I loved the foundational exposition of Ephesians 5; it was gorgeous picture of our Christ's view of the church. Josh Harris finds a kind, direct way to say that we are wasting our lives if we are n ...more
Jerry Simmons
Nov 11, 2010 Jerry Simmons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joshua Harris normally writes relationship books and is well known for the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. In Stop Dating The Church he uses the same type of style and approach to challenge the reader in their relationship with a local church.

What type of relationship does God want you to have with a local body of believers? Joshua starts out the book looking at some parallels between dating and the way many Christians attend church. There is a great danger for the Christian who is not committed t
Jeremy Barker
Feb 13, 2012 Jeremy Barker rated it it was amazing
Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God
by Joshua Harris

Do you go to church? Yes? Okay, why?

This book helps you answer that question. It is aimed to help restore your vision for what the church is all about and what your role is in relation to a real and tangible local church – you know “the church down the street” (the phrase he uses for the local church that you attend).

Joshua Harris first gained notoriety in the Evangelical world for his books on relationships (“I Kisse
Kevin Sorensen
Feb 12, 2012 Kevin Sorensen rated it it was amazing
This small book is a very important book. It just might need to become the one small book you hand to anyone or any family who walks into your church and says, "I'm looking for a church home." It needs to be the one book you hand to someone who says "I don't really need to belong to a church; I can just show up when I can."

Joshua Harris writes in a homely and winsome style. As you're reading, you think to yourself, "This is good stuff. Why haven't I heard this before?" You probably have; you jus
I picked this book because as some of my friends know, and now my readers, that I don’t believe that church membership is Biblical nor is it needed – this is because the times that I have given time, money and everything else to a church – it usually ends with me leaving – because of the pastor beginning to follow a teaching of a man than a Bible or because those who are heavily involved in the occult are allowed to continue worshiping with the body of Believers. Enter Joshua Harris’ book, Why C ...more
Robert Stump
Feb 10, 2012 Robert Stump rated it did not like it
Homo Homini Lupus

Its called Why Church Matters; but it hardly matters. I'm sorry WaterBrook Multnomah, but I couldn't finish this one. I almost put it down after the first three pages, but I did power through about three quarters before I just could not take it anymore.

I was an atheist for nearly 7 years before Christ came for me, and had I read this book in that period I would have avoided the church like it were a leper. That said, let me proceed to demolish
May 30, 2012 Curtis rated it did not like it
Harris gives biblical evidence for the importance of committing and belonging to a local body of believers. If you recall, Harris is also the author of other relationship focused books such as "I kissed Dating Goodbye" and "Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship"; his book concerning the importance of the church also focuses on the relationship aspect of a person to their local body of believers. Harris writes briefly about the universal church and how Christ sees it - as his bride. He then lead ...more
Dec 28, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-books
Why Church Matters is a relatively quick read, consisting of only seven chapters and a section for discussion questions. I thought Harris could've elaborated in great detail on the topic, as this seemed a very basic (but accurate) overview of why Christians need to be involved in their local congregation. He covers some very important requirements, like doctrinal accuracy and clarity, but didn't explore the issues and obstacles in depth like I would have preferred.

Harris makes good points with h
Aug 10, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Joshua Harris writes what he knows about in this quick read. He “Kissed Dating Goodbye” and now as a Pastor he is attempting to give church hopping a fond farewell. This book follows a somewhat predictable theme. First, love the local church. Next become the person you should be for her and finally choose the right congregation based on key values God’s word directs you toward.

For a believer growing in health and personal awareness as directed by the Holy Spirit this is extremely helpful materia
The word church can conjure up many ideals and feelings. Some good and some bad. Some hop from church to church and never settle in and be commited to a body of believers. Some see no need for the church and feel that they do better without the church. Since the church is made up of sinners, the church can have a bad name, even a bad taste for some. Others have experienced the love of God thru the church. This book is really not about feelings but about the purpose of the church and our need to ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Debi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short and sweet, this book cuts through to the heart of the matter - why being a part of a local church (not just the Universal church) is important in the life of the Christian. The author points out several reasons why being part of a local church is important, including because of the importance that God placed on the church and our need for other believers in living out the Christian life. We are not meant to live this life as Christ-followers on our own but as part of a greater community.
Joshua D.
This is a different kind of book for Joshua Harris. Most who have heard of him know Harris primarily as a speaker to junior high and high school students, challenging them to reject our culture's notions of casual dating and pursue different, more intentional kinds of relationships. His book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was born out of his many conferences and speaking tours along these lines.

I'll admit some skepticism about reading Harris. His previous books were excellent resources for teenagers, b
Dec 13, 2011 Coyle rated it really liked it
This book by Joshua Harris (formerly titled Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God) is a little primer on, appropriately, why church matters.

To that end, a few observations:
1) this book is only written for Christians. Of course non-Christians are welcome to attend church on Sunday mornings, even encouraged to do so. But there is no obligation on someone who does not self-identify as a Christian to join a local church.
2) if you are a Christian and are not active in a local c
Mar 05, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2016 Vicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could have taken a deeper view of why some people don't commit - there are reasons other than laziness, selfishness and such. If someone, for example, has been wounded by a leader or a series of similar events and is therefore cautious about committing, reading this book will not be edifying in my opinion.
Feb 04, 2016 Mike rated it liked it
I was hoping for better. Joshua Harris lays out some real "traditional" reasons for the local church. As valid as those reasons are, they do not address the disillusionment that many millennials feel when it comes to the local church. This book needs an update to be more relevant.
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Joshua Harris lives outside Washington, D.C., in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where he's a pastor at Covenant Life Church. His greatest passion is preaching the gospel and calling his generation to wholehearted devotion to God. Each January he leads a national conference for singles called New Attitude.
More about Joshua Harris...

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“If Jesus loves the church, you and I should, too. We can’t use the excuse that the church has messed up too many times or that we’re disillusioned. Jesus is the only person who has the right to disown and give up on the church. But He never has. And He never will.” 2 likes
“(see 1 John 1:8–9; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8–9).” 0 likes
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