Community and being together with people does not seem to be a priority in today’s world. In light of this, many people who are Christian, who love Jesus with their whole hearts; do not attend church. They just do not believe that it is necessary; and they would be absolutely right. The simple act of sitting in a church service every Sunday is not a how one gets to Heaven. The Bible tells us “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved”(Acts 16:31a). A church brings no one to salvation without Jesus. So what is its value? The value of the local church, as God created it to be, is that it is a very important tool that can help ourselves and others to encounter Jesus and to grow in our faith.
The Bible clearly states that we were not designed to walk in life or in faith alone:
“ Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help."
Church is a source of community that those of us who walk in faith so desperately need. Whether we realize it or not, so much more growth can happen when we are doing life together. We can build each other up; we can help each other grow. We can point out a perspective that someone could have never seen on their own, because God has wired us all differently and our perceptions of certain things vary. That is why we need each other.
The local church was designed to help facilitate this idea of “togetherness.” The book of Acts in the Bible, talks about the start of the local church. It says:
“Every day they (referring to Christ followers) continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” -Acts 2:46-47
People were gathering together and fellowshipping. It is so important to have a community of people to do life with, especially as a believer. We need to be growing and learning and we need people to hold us accountable and to call us out when we are wrong. Now some may argue that that is God’s job, that He is truly all we need. Yes, that is true. The only voice we need to hear and listen to is God’s, we need Him and no one else. But sometimes, He chooses to speak to us through someone else. Why would you want to miss out on that by isolating yourself in your faith? Is it worth it?
Now someone reading this may feel that they have their community from somewhere other than church. I just want to encourage you to think about who is a part of that community? Are they believers who can help you, pray with you, encourage you, and help you to build your faith? Your answers to that may be yes; maybe you have a close circle of Christian friends who do not go to church. But where did they come from? How did they hear about Jesus? How did they manage to learn and grow in their faith, enough to be in a season where they can share wisdom and the love of Jesus with others? Not to say that this is the case for everyone, but I am sure that even most Christ followers who do not attend church themselves, have some sort of ties to the local church.
It is clear that it was through the local church that many people became saved, that many people came to know and love Jesus Christ (And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b). The local church has been used as a tool to bring countless amounts of people to come to know Jesus over the years. That means that countless amounts of people have been introduced to the love of Jesus, accepted His grace into their lives, and received the eternal hope of Heaven; all because of the local church.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus has called us to share His love with others. This is not what gets us into Heaven, but it is what gets others there. There is no doubting that the local church has played a role in numerous coming- to -faith stories. We can be a part of this through serving at church and through building up a community there.
Jesus is the only way to Heaven. I have no doubt in my mind that there will be many people in Heaven who had never before stepped into a church; not even once. Each person gets to choose the best form of worship for himself or herself. What there is no denying however, is that the local church has impacted many faith stories; including mine and probably yours too, which makes the local church very… VERY valuable.