I think so many people misunderstand the Church or the role of the Christian as the Church. The Church is not the building, it's the people. The Church isn't just worship services and programs you attend, those are things the Church has or does, but not who they are. The Church is you and me. We are the Church. The Church is the body of Christ, that God established after Jesus resurrected to represent Him on this earth to share the gospel message with the world, so we can reach the lost with the message and disciples followers to grow in their faith. That is the Church.
Yet, we've turned the church into anything but what the church is supposed to be. People claim to be Christians, yet do not attend, worship, serve, or aren't members of any local Church. Some people who are supposed members attend on Sunday mornings only, as if attending a service once a week fulfills an obligation to God. Some Church members are so sporadic and inconsistent in their Church attendance and involvement, you wonder why they even come at all? You have those who are faithful in attending church services, yet they won't life a finger to help serve, volunteer, or be involved in the ministries of the Church and leave the burden to the faithful few who do all the work. Then you have those who just have to be busy doing "stuff" so they are always involved, yet they aren't allowing themselves to be fed spiritually. That's not even counting those who aren't being transformed and who haven't totally surrendered to the will of God.
Friends, the Church isn't optional for the Christian. It's necessary. It's mandatory. It's commanded from God. The Church was created to be Jesus on earth and to share His message of salvation and then once people are saved, help them grow in their relationship(discipling). Being a part of the Church body comes with being a Christian. Wanting to be a Christian yet you don't want to attend church services, or serve or give in the church, or be involved is like saying I want to have a job and get a paycheck but I don't want to show up and work. It's like saying I want to lose weight, but I'm not going to diet, exercise, and participate in the process, but still expect to lose weight. It's not going to happen. You're not going to lose weight and you're not going to have a job. You're not being a Christian or acting saved when you aren't faithful to God and His Church.
Christians can't survive without being connected to the Church and the Church can't function without it's body parts(members) being present, active, and involved. I've never really understood why someone would want to be a Christian, yet not be faithful to God's church? It doesn't make sense? It's like saying I want to be married, but I don't want to be involved or faithful to my spouse? A marriage is nothing but a piece of paper without a relationship, involvement, and faithfulness of both parties. God even used marriage in Ephesians 5 to describe the relationship between us and His church. That's how vital and important it is.
If we want God to save us, if we want to go to Heaven, and if we truly love Jesus and want a relationship with Him, we have to take His church just as serious. While attending services won't save you, they are meant to help you, give you an opportunity to worship, fellowship, and serve, so you should take advantage of them and be faithful and committed to attending and being involved in the church services your local church provides. If you church has bible studies, small groups, or sunday school classes they are providing you with opportunities to study God's Word with other church members and you should have a desire to want to learn and study God's Word. While we need study alone, we also need to study together.
God has gifted you with a variety of talents and abilities that He wants you to use through the Church. Serving God through the church isn't optional either, though many live like that. I think part of the reason many of our churches are stagnant, dwindling, dying, and complacent is because so many so called Church members aren't actively involved in serving and giving back to God through the Church. A small percentage of the church members end up having to do ALL the work and serving in areas they are not gifted, but their mentality is "someone has to do it". The Church isn't optional. Do you want a God whos part-time? Inconsistent? Unfaithful? Do you want a God who's salvation is optional if He feel likes saving only some? I doubt it.
We need the Church, but more importantly, we need to be the Church. We are the Church. We are the body of Christ if we are Christians and its' time we start acting and living like it. Be faithful to God and His Church. Be a faithful commitment member. Make a commitment to attend
Church services more faithfully than just once week or here and there when you feel like it. Get involved in a bible study. Volunteer to serve without having to be begged or sign a sign-up sheet, see a need and fill it. Invite people to church look for opportunities to share the gospel, serve, give, and be the Church out in the world.
Church isn't optional. The body of Christ isn't optional.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.