Why Church?Church is another way of saying, “We are better together.” Do you agree? Maybe ... or maybe not.
As I was battling my way home through traffic, a song came on the radio that I hadn’t heard in a while. As it played, a line kept repeating: “We are better together.”
Those song lyrics struck a chord with me on several levels. Not only did they cause me to think about the people in my life, but they also spoke to me about this unique thing called “church.”
Church is another way of saying, “We are better together.” Do you agree? Maybe … or maybe not.
In today’s world, there are competing views as to what the “church” is. Questions are raised about its importance, its relevance and its meaning. It’s been said that to understand the existence of something, we need to examine its original intent or purpose. So what is the meaning behind church? Why, for over 2,000 years, have cultures from all around the world centered their communities around Church? This in turn leads me to ask: why should Church be an integral part of your life and mine?
The Nature of People
Human beings are social creatures—we have been deliberately designed by our Creator to be in community with one another. The Bible reveals to us that at the outset of creation, God formed us so that we would be in relationship with Him and with each other. Our existence is predicated on this understanding.
However, life was forever changed when humanity rebelled against the goodness of God. Sin (which is what strays us from the will of God) entered, affecting all of creation. Humans remained social beings, but sin kept getting in the way of our relationships, including our relationship with God.
“By being social creatures, God has used His relationship with those who trust Him to bring about life changes in them.”
Everything changed though when Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world. Through Him, humanity was given the chance to restore its relationship with God the Father. Those who placed their faith in Jesus were, and still are, empowered by His Spirit to live in a way that honors and pleases God.
By being social creatures, God has used His relationship with those who trust Him to bring about life changes in them. God has also encouraged His followers to relate and co-exist with each other in order to show the world how life is meant to be lived. This in turn brings us to the concept of “church.”
The Nature of Church
The early followers of Christ used a Greek term to identify their communities: “ekklesia.” Ekklesia means “gathering” or “assembly.” It’s worth noting that the word was never used to describe a building or physical meeting place. Rather, it had two specific meanings: a local community of Christ-followers and the entire population of Christ-followers worldwide.
The Role of Church
On a local as well as global scale, the role of the Christian Church essentially falls into three important parts:
1. To worship God. Jesus is the Head of the Church and His followers are His body. Christians are to come together in unity to express love to Him for who He is and all that He has done. Why? Because He deserves it! The Scriptures also instruct believers to gather together for purposes such as this (Hebrews 10:24-25).
2. To nurture the faith of Christ-followers. In other words, church helps people grow in their relationship with God; it also supports them in serving each other in Jesus’s name. Coming together as a church provides fellowship, encouragement and love. All too often though, people have fallen away from their faith because they have tried to face it alone. Church provides a supportive foundation to build and equip the faith of believers.
3. To reach out to a lost and broken world with the saving message of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus said it Himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6a). If He’s not, then there is no real hope for humanity. Collectively, the Church is equipped and mobilized by God to reach out to the “whosoever.” Together, we are the hands, the feet, the voice of Jesus to all people.
“Always remember that church is not about what you can get out of it; it’s about what you can bring to it by partnering with God and with those who walk with Him. ”
The Church is a big deal because it has been entrusted with the mission of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Every Christ-follower has their part to play in this.
Church is the ultimate expression of God-centered community. It says to the world that “we are better together“ than we are apart. The Christian life was never meant to be a solo journey, but rather in community, like a big family. In being together, we can accomplish so much more, and we will keep each other accountable to do it for the right reasons, rather than selfish gain.
Think of it like a marriage—you don’t get married to someone and then never live together. Marriage involves relationship, love, support, vulnerability, cooperation. The same is true for the Church; it exists so that Christ-centered relationships can mutually thrive. Always remember that church is not about what you can get out of it; it’s about what you can bring to it by partnering with God and with those who walk with Him.
We are better together: when we worship God together, when we grow and serve each other together and when we reach out to help the world together.
Captain Marcus Collings and his wife Jenny are the leaders of the Hamilton City Salvation Army in New Zealand. Together with an amazing team of staff, members of The Salvation Army and volunteers, they help to advance the Army’s mission of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people and offer practical care and support in His name. They have two sons (Hudson and Lincoln).