We live in a day and age when many people want Jesus, but not the church. The truth of the matter is that you cannot have Jesus without the church. He came to establish the church (Matt. 16:18). The church is His body and He is the head of it (Eph. 1:22-23). The church is His bride and He is the bridegroom (Rev. 19:7; 21:2, 9). With that in mind, let us look at the value of the church.
First, the church is a community. In order to grasp this concept, we must remember that the church is the people, not the building. The communal aspect of the church is seen from the very beginning of the church as “all the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:44-46). As Christians, we are part of the greatest family ever.
Second, the church is a place of commonality. At one time, there was a “dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2:14) between Jews and Gentiles. Thankfully, Jesus has reconciled “us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:16). Therefore, in the church today, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Thus, it doesn’t matter if you are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, rich, poor, tall, short, skinny, fat or even bald, there is a place for you in the Lord’s church.
Third, the church is a place of caring. As the Hebrew author wrote, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works […] but encouraging one another” (Heb. 10:24-25). Paul, in reference to the value of Christian fellowship, wrote, “That we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Rom. 1:12). Further, Paul commanded us, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). As God’s family, we “rejoice with those who rejoice [and] weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).
Fourth, the church is a place of cooperation. Paul wrote, “For the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Cor. 12:14). He then proceeds to show how each member has unique gifts, which are all necessary for the body to function properly. We need one another to work together for the body of Christ in order to have the impact upon the world that it should. Let us learn to work together in unity and to use our individual talents as a team for the glory of God.
Fifth, the church is a place of comfort. We all need people to whom we can turn for help and healing. James wrote, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). We must “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2). We must learn to “lift [the] drooping hands and strengthen [the] weak knees, and make straight paths for [the] feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather healed” (Heb. 12:12-13).
Sixth, the church is a college. Obviously, this includes preaching and teaching, which is necessary for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). However, this includes the examples of members of the church who put their faith into practice and overcome adversities. For example, older members guide and teach the younger members (Titus 2:2-8), just as younger members give examples of service and encouragement to older members (1 Tim. 4:12). We are always learning from one another as we strive to grow and mature to be the Christians we ought to be.
Much more could be added to this list. Nevertheless, suffice it to say, the church is absolutely valuable to the Christian today. I could not imagine walking through this life without my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am blessed to be a part of the family of God.
Chris Hodges is the Associate Minister for the Katy Church of Christ in Katy, TX, and an avid writer. If you would like to read more articles from Chris, you can visit his blog at www.chrisrhodges.com