Church is Community.
The church is God’s people saved and united to Him through the life and death of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The church is people. It is not a building. It is not an event on Friday (or Sunday for much of the world). It is people, God’s people. Local churches are gatherings of God’s people living out their faith together. Therefore, committing to church is not about committing to attend certain services, it is committing to relationship and community. It is committing to the beauty and difficulty of knowing each other, celebrating life with each other, mourning sin and death with each other, and through it all reminding each other of the gospel.
Why Live in Community?
First, living in community is vital to your soul. Christian growth happens best in community. The church is a body and each member helps to build the body (Rom 12:4-5). Being disconnected from the body stunts your growth. A human hand will not grow unless it is attached to the human body, in the same way a Christian will not grow separated from the church body. Further, the Bible tells us that one of the roles of the Christian community, the church, is to protect individual Christians from falling “away from the Living God” (Heb 3:12-13). It is fellow Christians in the body who encourage us, exhort us, teach us, and at times even rebuke us for our eternal well-being.
Secondly, living in community is vital for your fellow believer’s soul. All Christians are given gifts by God (1 Cor 12:7). These gifts are not for the exclusive use of the one who has them. Instead, the gifts are meant to build up the church, that is build up other Christians and those whom God is calling to himself (1 Cor 14:1-5). Whether your gift is teaching, giving, serving, exhorting, or one of many others, it is to be used in the church for the good of those in the community.
Finally, living in community is vital for the non-believer’s soul. The church community is a unique and compelling gospel witness to the world. The Bible tells us that the world will know Jesus’s disciples by the way that they love each other (John 13:35). This love is most naturally displayed in community. Further, it is unity of the Christian community that reveals to the world that Jesus was in fact sent by God (John 17:20-21). The glory of God displayed in the church is an essential witness to the world in which we live.