Why church matters is an important concept that all Christians must understand. Some believers are content with establishing a personal relationship with God and accepting Christ as their savior. However, there’s a lot to understand before dismissing the church and deciding to go solo on your spiritual journey.
Allow us here at Church Helper to help you understand the purpose of the church and why it should matter for us as believers. Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ll have a fresh point of view on this vital subject.
What is the Church?
To understand its importance, let’s first define the church. Consulting the Bible gives us several analogies.
Firstly, the church is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:18, 24), where he is the head. As his body, the church must be like Christ, holy and pure, and must also carry out the works Christ started when he manifested in the flesh.
Secondly, the church is the bride and spouse of Christ (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus Christ loved the church like his bride and spouse and that incredible love led him to a sacrificial death to redeem it.
Lastly, the church is a group of believers coming from all walks of life, cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, and races (1 Corinthians 12:13). Each believer makes up the whole of the church—the whole body of Christ. As such, we are called to this body to be holy and pure, to carry out Jesus Christ’s works, and to love him as he loved us.
The church is also what we call the local body of believers, for example, the local church. We gather in small groups as a community and worship God together. Even so, the entirety of all believers—whether they gather at small or large local churches—is collectively the body of Jesus Christ.
The building we enter and gather in is also frequently referred to as the church—the church building. But though we may say “our” or “my” church, it must be clear to all of us that the church belongs to Christ.
The Function of the Church
We can’t go about understanding the church without discussing its function. Before ascending to heaven, Christ left his disciples (the apostles then and to us now) instructions for carrying out his mission—that is to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20).
To do so, we must share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world. This refers to evangelism, wherein we proclaim God’s love for everyone and that Jesus died for our sins.
Once we’ve found those that are willing to listen, we must continue teaching them. Continuous learning about the Word of God is part of the Christian life. This helps us mature in our faith.
As believers gather, we form a community built on faith in God and Christ. Here, our fellowship helps us nurture one another in our faith. We encourage one another and become the strength for each other.
Finally, we worship God together, as this keeps our focus on him. Through his pastors, we hear preaching that helps us understand our Almighty Father. We are also continuously reminded of the Lord Christ’s grace of salvation, which instills a spirit of gratitude in us all.
All these steps to carry out Christ’s commission is to be done through the church.
Why Church Matters
After understanding the definition and function of the church, we’ll now look at the five powerful reasons the church matters. Of course, there are so many more reasons why the church matters, and not all of them can be covered here. With that, we’ll contain our discussion to these five undeniable reasons.
1. You, as a Christian, are incomplete without other Christians.
Let’s once again consult the Bible. One of the most important teachings of Christ is about love—specifically, the love of God and our neighbor. As it is stated in Matthew 22:40 (NKJV),
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
As a Christian, you cannot completely fulfill these two commandments without your fellow believers. This was made clear to the members of the New Testament Church, and 1 John 4:20 (CEV) tells us as much:
But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see?
To love our God, we need to love one another. Our love for one another is proof of our love for God, our Father. Having other Christians in the church that we can love and serve helps us fulfill these two great commandments. Hopefully, this can motivate us to cherish our local church and form a meaningful relationship with our fellow Christians.
2. Fellowship allows Christians to experience the fullness of God.
Although fellowship is not limited to the church, it is undeniably the best venue for Christian fellowship. The local church you are involved with is a great avenue to find friends of the same belief and a whole group of people that you can call your family.
Without this fellowship, you cannot experience the fullness of God. Apostle Paul explains this in Ephesians 3:17-19,
“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.“
The fullness pertained to here is not regarding his fullness as God, but his fullness as a God to his people. We need one another, the church community, in our fellowship to be filled with this fullness of God.
With that in mind, let’s not neglect Sunday worship in our local church. After every worship service is a great time for fellowship with our Christian family.
3. The Church helps in nurturing and growing your faith.
Another key reason why church matter is that it helps grow and nurture your faith by implementing spiritual disciplines. For example, a local church can be led by a pastor that guides each Christian towards becoming the best follower of the Lord they can be.
This point can seem oppressive or burdensome to others, which is understandable. Not all churches will have the best bylaws—like how some local church demand their members to stop dating people that are not members of the church. How your receive this matter can also depend on the maturity of your faith, you may find these disciplines completely reasonable or simply unbearable.
Through the church, you can better understand the grace of the Almighty and be motivated to participate in Christ’s mission. The church can help you understand how the holy spirit works in our lives and how to see God’s plan in action. The church also becomes a place where your God-given gifts can be utilized to serve others and lead more people to salvation. You can be called to a ministry that will hone your skills and strengthen your resolve in life as a Christian.
No matter what your perspective in this matter is or how the local church acts on this duty, the church is undeniably the main corrective body for Christians.
4. Christ uses the Church as his instrument to do great deeds in the world.
As his body, the church is the extension of the Lord that carries out his mission and great deeds on this earth. He watches over us from heaven and guides the church from above to ensure his will is being carried out and all people of this earth may hear the truth.
Through the church, Christ’s gospel is preached to the world, so people may hear and believe. Those that have heard and accepted the message then become members of the church (with being baptized as the rite of passage in some Christian denominations). These new members then slowly become ready to preach the gospel themselves, so more and more can become believers. This is the spiritual aspect of how churches become the instrument of Jesus.
In the material aspect, churches are active in local communities, finding ways to help members of the community—regardless of their beliefs. Churches can help through feeding and clothing the homeless, providing shelter to those in need, conducting various free programs that enrich the lives of members of the community, among others.
Each local church can do such deeds for the community through every involved believer in the ministry. Then the church, through all their local churches, can help every community they can reach.
5. Being in the Church allows you to take part in the mission.
Some Christians may argue against this in the belief that preaching about Jesus and his grace is enough—that there is no need to encourage those that have heard the gospel to find a local church (and, in some denominations, be baptized). However, if we’ll review the aforementioned instructions Jesus left to his disciples, the church is essential to fully become involved in the mission. To make disciples of people in the world, they need to continuously learn in the church and slowly but surely become Christians that can preach the gospel themselves.
Our Christian life will surely be lacking if we cannot take part in the commission. So, take it upon yourself to find a local church that can enable you to proclaim God’s glory and Christ’s sacrifice.
What Can You Do Next?
Knowing how greatly the church matters, what can you do next to enrich your Christian life? Let’s look at what you can do if you’re currently looking for a church or if you’re already in a church.
If you’re looking for a church:
- Keep in mind that a perfect church does not exist. You can consider a handful of choices for a local church to join. However, “shopping around” will only exhaust you and stop you from forming meaningful relationships.
- Prayer will do much good. Pray that God may give you a sign that the current local church you are hoping to join could be the one for you. Pray for guidance and a clean heart full of hope, so you may fully receive God’s message to your soul.
- The church should:
- Place God above all, proclaiming his glory in the way they administer to the congregation and serve those in the world, regardless of belief;
- Recognize its members’ God-given gifts and hone their skills—for the growth of each member as individuals and as Christians;
- Actively take steps towards enriching each member spiritually, like disseminating daily devotionals that help guide every member through their day;
- Sincerely care for the community—care that manifests in their dealings and service to the members of the community; and,
- Make you feel connected to the congregation by encouraging fellowship and love for one another.
If you’re already in a church:
All the key reasons we discussed regarding why the church matters can make it seem like your local church is not up to par. Before you decide to leave your current local church, understand that messy churches exist—there are a lot of them, in reality, and yours could be one of them.
However, that doesn’t mean you should just up and leave. Accept this reality and see if you can become the change your local church needs. You can’t just hope for things to change. Actively seek ways to be of help for the church’s betterment.
If you truly no longer feel connected and have trouble growing spiritually in the church you are currently in, then look no further for a sign to leave in search of a church that will better suit you. To understand more about this, consider reading one of our previous posts on this subject.
Why the church matter is truly an invaluable subject that every believer must thoroughly understand. It is our hope here in Church Helper that this brief discussion has planted in your heart the five powerful reasons the church matters in our lives.
While you’re here, you might be interested in reading our previous post.