The Value of Church
It is an absolute necessity to be involved in a church in order to walk with God and grow spiritually. The Bible instructs us to "consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together . . . " (Hebrews 10:24–25).

What Is Church?
In the New Testament, temple and synagogue are the only words that describe a building as a place of worship. Today's church is not a building, but an assembly of people who make up the body of Christ (Colossians 1:24; Romans 16:5). The universal church consists of genuine Christian believers of all ages, both on earth and in heaven. There won't be any denominations in heaven, there will only be believers!

Is It Necessary to Join a Local Church?
Although we are all members of the universal church, the body of Christ, it's very important for a Christian to identify with a body of believers in a local church. We need each other in order to develop fully as Christians (1 Corinthians 12:4–27). We are also disciples who are commanded to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). But to do so, we must spend time around other believers.

What Makes a Church Effective?
What makes the church effective today is no different from what made the early church effective. It's the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts of the people of God. Jesus told His disciples, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Only a spirit-filled church can be an effective church. We simply need to ask God to empower us. (Also see: "What We Believe: The Holy Spirit" and "What We Believe: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.")

What Is the Purpose of the Church?
Ultimately, the purpose of the church is to know God and make Him known. Through the Holy Spirit, the church accomplishes this in three ways. First, the church is to exalt God. He has called us to live "to the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:12).

Second, the church is to edify the saints. Paul exhorts us to "present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Colossians 1:28).

Third, the church is to evangelize the world. Jesus told His disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). We believe in adhering to these purposes, while keeping them in proper balance.

What Is the Practice of the Church?
The practice of the church is fourfold. It is to be a learning church, a loving and united church, a worshiping church, and a praying church. We find the trademarks of a healthy church in the book of Acts: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer" (2:42).

What Are Ordinances of the Church?
Ordinances of the church are outward rites or symbolic observances commanded by Jesus, which set forth essential Christian truths. We observe the ordinances of water baptism and Communion. (Also see: "What We Believe: Water Baptism," and "What We Believe: Communion.")

Who Is the Head of the Church?
Jesus told His disciples, "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The Bible says that the head of the church is Jesus Christ Himself (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23).

Used by permission Harvest Christian Fellowship Pastor Greg Laurie.