The Biblical definition of ‘church’ is actually about the people – those who place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 12:13). These people are the global community of believers who gather together in local expressions of church. The Apostle Paul describes this community like the human body, a living thing – made up of real people (1 Corinthians 12:12).
In essence, church is about relationship.
Christ’s Body – An Effectively Functioning Community
A community is usually made up of individuals from all different backgrounds or situations who come together with certain goals, ideals or interests in common. They are united by their commonality of those interests or goals, not necessarily by their similarity of personalities.
Paul the Apostle speaks at length about our individuality and how important each person is to God. As with the human body, this body of believers is made up of many different parts. None is better or worse, just different – and all are valuable to a well-functioning body. Corinthians tells us that “God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it”.
This “body of believers” is governed or directed in all its functions by the head, which is Jesus. In fact, this body of believers is actually called “Christ’s body”. (I Corinthians 12:27). It is remarkable that God has designed the human body – every part dependent on every other part – as a working model for understanding our lives together as a community of believers.
The word ‘community’ beautifully captures the original apostolic idea of having “all things in common, in Jesus. It’s on this basis that we get together for worship, social events, prayer and singing and to truly celebrate a free life in Jesus. We believe this aspect of community is so critical when considered in the light of Life With Jesus.