When I went off to college and began looking for a new church, the process seemed simple. Find a church where the worship is good and the sermon is applicable. I wanted to walk away feeling filled with Jesus and refreshed for my week.
Don’t we all?
But I was operating under the lie that it is the church’s job to fill me. I believed that if I didn’t leave feeling filled up, the church wasn’t the right fit.
And so I searched… and searched…
I attended several churches for differing time periods and yet I never truly felt connected. It wasn’t until I began to realize the true purpose of church that I stumbled upon a church I never guessed I’d make my home. Here’s what I found to be true of the purpose of church:
When you think of a church, you think of the building, right? The steeple, the pews and the hymnals fall under the most common definition. However, Scripture tells us a different story.
Many times we put so much money into our buildings and amenities, but the church as God intends it is made up of the people inside the building.
Ephesians 2:21 says,
“We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”
We can spend thousands of dollars on building a comfortable sanctuary, but if there are no Christ-followers to fill it, the church crumbles. Why? Because the church isn’t the building, it’s the gathering of God’s people.
Before deciding what color to paint the walls, be sure to invest in those who walk through the doors.
I’ve attended churches for weeks without ever once being approached by one of its members. The result? I felt lonely and unconnected. The purpose of church is the joining together of those who believe. In that process, we become a holy temple for the Lord, we become His church.
Are you joining together with other believers every Sunday?
What is Worship, Anyway?
A church is a place where we can fully give our hearts to God surrounded by other believers. It’s not about the lights, the volume and the song choices. The worship isn’t about just the right music. True worship is when we lay down our hearts before the Almighty God and receive our hope in His salvation alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the loud, passionate, hands-raised worship sessions, but this is just one aspect of our relationship with the Lord. Those moments of worship do not create a church.
Many times we come to those moments of worship with the purpose of feeling happier and more at peace. But the real motivation of our approaching God in worship lies in the surrender of our hearts to God’s salvation and to His will.
Are you approaching worship as a way to fill your tank or as a way to give your heart fully to the Lord?
Serving as the Body of Christ
Finally, a church is a place where believers come together and work in harmony as the body of Christ.
Many times in Scripture, the church is compared to the body and the many parts it takes to function. Everyone serves as a different part of the body to create the church as God intended it to be.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 talks about each believer as a crucial part to the body of Christ.
“You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.”
When all parts are working together in harmony, the church becomes a place where believers can grow in their faith, welcome unbelievers to explore the person of Jesus Christ and where those in need can find rest and help in times of trouble.
One thing that I love about the church I attend now is the unity and the unparalleled service. Whenever there is a need, there are many people there to immediately meet the need. If one is sick, there are meals at their door and prayers and notes of encouragement sent their way.
When all parts of the church are working together, the needs of its members can be met in godly love.
The focus on service creates an environment where the members of the church can find rest and a place to give their heart to the Lord in surrender. It is in this service that the church becomes whole. With each member serving as a unique part of the body, the church flourishes.
What part of the body are you serving in your church? Can you find a need and work to meet it?
I have found that it isn’t an immaculate building, powerful music or a beautifully written sermon that brings me closer to the Lord. It is serving in a place where I am joined together with other believers who hold the same priority of living fully and completely for our Savior.
The church is a place where believers come together to love, to worship and to serve. Don’t believe the lie that a church must fill your tank every Sunday in order to be a good church. Search the Scriptures and discover the true meaning of church in your walk with God and find a place where you can fully surrender your heart and will to our loving Father.