Does Having a Church Community Matter?

Throughout Jesus’ earthly journey, we see Him in close community with others.  Clearly, community was important in His ministry and journey. I think we can all agree that Jesus is a pretty smart man. He is God incarnate, after all. Try as we might, we will never be anywhere close to His level of intelligence. The smartest among us: the rocket scientists, the brain surgeons, the physicists–no one comes close to Jesus’ level of smart. Fortunately, we aren’t called to be God.  We are called to be Christ-like. And we can do that best in a church community. 

Imitating Christ

Throughout scripture, we are called to imitate Christ. The apostle Paul taught that we are to learn God’s Word and what Christ shared in His own ministry.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all tell the stories that bear witness to Jesus’ life and knowledge.  

Yet, knowledge alone is not sufficient. We can learn all of the parables, miracles, and even the two commandments Jesus left us with, but if we do not have love, we are merely a “clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).   

We learn through these teachings that Jesus was infinitely smarter than we ever will be, and if it only came down to His intelligence, that alone would be enough reason to follow His advice. However, Jesus doesn’t come to us only as an intelligent man but as an omniscient and omnipresent Savior.  

Jesus knows everything and everyone throughout time, including you. He knows, better than anyone else, what you need to survive and thrive. So again, it seems like imitating Christ in all He asks of us is a good idea and a beautiful acceptance of His guidance.

If it only came down to His intelligence or all-perfect, all-knowing presence, we would have more than enough reason to follow in His steps. But He isn’t just the sum of His knowledge, His presence, or even both combined. He created…

·         The universe 

·         Land and seas 

·         Sun and the stars

·         Beasts

·         Humans 

·         You

But He didn’t stop there.  He loves you far beyond any love you can imagine. He loves you more than you love the love of your life. So much so that He gave His life for you. He took those nails for you, in your place, so that you may be forgiven. 

His Word, His guidance, and His instruction deserve not only our obedience but our total devotion. How else can we respond to His level of love?

What Does Jesus’ Love Show Us About Church Community?

What is the point, you wonder? The point is this: Jesus did life with others. He pulled away periodically to pray and meditate. He pulled away from the messiness of humanity when needed.  But by and large, Jesus shared His burdens.  

He shared His joys. 

He shared others’ pain and grief.  

He shared wisdom and knowledge. 

He bore the yolk of others with them and taught them how to do the same.  He did these things one-on-one at times. At other times, He did this with thousands of people. But when it came down to really getting into His ministry and getting into life, He did so in love with a smaller group of 12 disciples and a few others. 

Jesus’ ministry was one of …

·         Sacrifice

·         Discipline

·         Justice

·         Grace

·         Mercy

He alone had the power to do these ministries all on His own. He had the intelligence to carry out the actions He took. He had the abilities to do ministry with His own two hands and the holiness to perform the miracles and healings of His own accord. He could have done them alone, yet, He began his ministry with so much more in mind.  

Jesus knew we couldn’t do ministry on our own.  He knew we would need each other, to be better in community. And so, He modeled what we would need so that we too would lean into one another as we grew in our life with Him. 

Group of friends having a Bible study.

What Do We Do in Church Community?

These friends of Jesus gathered for dinner and fellowship. He spent time with them, investing in, caring for, and loving them. They shared burdens and took care of one another as needs arose.  

Where one lacked, another filled the gap. They studied and grew together in unity, knowledge, and fellowship. He knew to care for the widows, the orphans, and the outcasts. We would be better equipped to do so with each other.  

He understood that we would need each other in times of trouble, and when gathering with fellow Christians, we would garner strength for the journey. Proverbs 27:17 states that they acted to sharpen one another; “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”  In modeling Jesus’ actions, we must also join like-minded friends in community.

The Mission of Church Community

The very mission of church community is to see lives changed by Jesus. The heart of Jesus and His second commandment is: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31b).  He only had two commandments. 

·         Love God

·         Love others

That seems simple enough at first glance, but how are you living out the second commandment? How well do you love others? Loving others is not always easy. If we are to follow His first commandment, to love God, then we must obey God, including loving others. 

Jesus designed the very heart of community.  His …

·         Intelligence

·         Omniscience

·         Love

·         Mercy

…teach us that we need each other. So, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as Jesus would tell us in Luke 10:37, “Go and do likewise”. 

The Takeaway

A biblical church community is simply doing life together, but more importantly, it is seeing lives changed by Jesus. 

Jesus gave us an example of what it looks like to live in church community. If we are to follow His example, we must do the same. You can create community wherever you are!

·         Start a church community group

·         Meet others for devotions and coffee

·         Connect with others and ask questions about faith. 

·         Pray, “Lord, help me love you and love others.”

He gave you a great calling, and it is fulfilled in community with others. So then, to answer the question, “Does having a church community matter?” Yes! It helps you fulfill your purpose.