More and more people stop attending church. This is a sad trend that seems to continue for many years to come. There are a lot of big church buildings that are now almost empty to the point that they just stop existing. Whatever the reason behind this trend, we know that it leads to a lot of negative consequences.
How about you? Do you still find time attending church services on a regular basis? Do you see the need to assemble with like-minded individuals and become more active in doing God’s work? Or do you find things that are more appealing to do on weekends?
Whatever your answer to these questions, it doesn’t change the fact that God expects His people to congregate at least once every week. Attending church services play a vital role in our Christian lives. If you want to become an effective Christian, you need to develop the habit of attending church.
Common Misconceptions about the church
Before we can attend a “church,” we need to define it first accurately. Of course, we might already have our preconceived idea what a church is. For some, the concept of the church seems to be old-fashioned and antiquated. Even the word itself may make people feel uncomfortable.
On the other hand, some people think that a church is like those in the countryside with crosses on top of its roof or it could be those humongous European medieval cathedrals whose images are popular around the world. Others would automatically equate church with any place that is built for a place of worship.
Here’s how Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a church: “A building that is used for Christian religious service.”
Do any of these accurately reflect what the Bible teaches about the meaning of a church? What does the Bible say about this important and yet, often misunderstood term?
The Biblical Definition of Church
We need to know the truth if we want to correctly understand what a church is and how we must respond to God’s calling.
The word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means “a calling out.” When the word church used in the New Testament, it invariably refers to a group or assembly of people and never to a building or a place.
The church refers to a group of individuals who are “called out” to live a life different to the world. God called these people for a special purpose, and that is to train them of becoming a true Christian – followers of Christ and God the Father.
Notice what the Apostle Paul has to say about the church:
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:3-5).
If the church is a building, then it doesn’t make sense for Paul to say, “Greet the building that is in their house.” With this being said, a church is not a cold and lifeless concrete building, but rather it is a body of warm and living people who have dedicated their lives to God. A building with no worshiper is nothing but a structure in a biblical sense.