You probably grew up knowing that the church is just a building that people visit every Sunday. However, in a Christian life, a church is much more than that.
What is church, really?
The church that the Bible refers to comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” which means congregation, assembly or meeting.
It is not a structure but an assembly of people who believe and are followers of Jesus Christ. Matthew 18:19-20 says that as long as people gather together in Jesus’ name, He is in their midst.
Jesus is the one who builds the church, as He said to Peter, one of His disciples, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 ESV).
He brings together people of different tribes and languages to be one body in Christ (Romans 12:5 ESV).
In addition, the Word of God describes the church as different parts of the body which are essential to one another.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:21, 26 ESV)
Simply put, the church is the people of God connected with one another—being one in mind, goal, and spirit through Jesus.
What is church for?
1. A place for fellowship
One of the church’s purposes is to provide people a safe place where they can share lives together. Churchgoers need to be built relationally so they can grow together in their relationship with God.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42, ESV)
2. A place of sound doctrine
The Bible warns the people to be vigilant with false teachings being spread around. That’s why one of the important roles of the church is to teach sound doctrine, study the scriptures, and help people grow spiritually.
Ultimately, it is God who enables the members of the church in helping each other grow in the faith.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
3. A place of comfort
When people pray, encourage one another, and show love and compassion to each other, they show the heart of the church.
“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.” (Hebrews 10:25 GNT)
4. A place of worship
It is a safe place where you can worship your Heavenly Father. Praying, giving tithes, and singing songs of praise are some of the many ways to show your love for God.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16 ESV)
5. A place to fulfill the Great Commission
Lastly, the body of Christ is built for a communal purpose and that is to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Called to reach out to the lost and share the Good News, followers of Jesus are also chosen to represent Him in every way and be a witness to people of who He is and what He has done.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 ESV)
Should people go to church?
After learning all the purposes and benefits of going to church, you might have asked yourself, “Should I go to church, too?”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells that God created people as relational beings.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
As people of God, followers cannot truly spiritually grow without the church. They will easily fall and give up in their walk with God. But having people you can rely on in your spiritual journey helps you go further and deeper in your relationship Him. If that is your goal, then being part of the church is an essential element of your Christian journey.
Most importantly, a church is a place where you could feel the transforming love, power, and presence of God.
Do you want to experience God’s presence through the church?
If you are looking for a church, the CBN Asia Prayer Center has hundreds of faithful partner churches who can help you live a fruitful Christian life in Christ. Call us at 8737-0700 so we can connect you to the nearest church in your area.