A black and white image of an empty church pew, bathed in soft light streaming through stained glass windows, captures the stillness and solitude Jesus spoke of when he said, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."

What Did Jesus Say About Church: A Comprehensive Guide

Going to church is an important part of many Christians’ lives. But what exactly did Jesus say about gathering together as believers? If you’re looking for a quick answer, here’s the key point: Jesus emphasized the importance of unity, love, and service within the church community.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore in detail what Jesus taught about the purpose, values, leadership, and membership of the church according to the Gospels. With over 20 relevant quotes and explanations, you’ll get a clear picture of how Jesus envisioned the church to function.

The Church as a Unified Community of Believers

Love and Unity Are Paramount

Jesus emphasized love and unity among believers as being central to the mission of the church. He prayed that his followers “may all be one” just as he and the Father are one (John 17:21). This oneness comes through the Holy Spirit who enables believers to love one another just as Jesus loved them (John 13:34-35).

Such love and unity enable the church to reveal God’s love to the world and testify that Jesus was sent by God (John 17:23).

Paul also stressed the importance of unity, exhorting believers to live in harmony, be sympathetic, love one another, and look not only to their own interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:2-4).

He implored the Corinthians that there be no divisions among them but that they be united in the same mind and judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Therefore, love and unity are essential to the church fulfilling its God-given mission. Petty divisions, selfish ambition, and lack of love undermine the church’s witness. As Jesus said, this visible love and unity testify to the world of His love and the truth of His identity as the Son sent from the Father (John 17:21, 23).

Serving One Another in Humility

Jesus demonstrated that greatness in His kingdom is attained through servanthood and humility rather than domineering authority. He washed His disciples’ feet, presenting Himself as an example for them to follow, humbly serving one another (John 13:1-17).

He taught that the first will be last and the last first (Mark 9:35). He instructed His followers not to lord authority over others as the Gentiles do but to serve one another in humility (Matthew 20:25-28).

The early church embodied this spirit of mutual service. Believers shared meals, supported those in need, and used their gifts to build up others (Acts 2:42-47). Leaders were to be examples to the flock, not domineering over it but proving themselves humble servants (1 Peter 5:1-5).

Paul echoed Christ’s teaching that each member should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).

Therefore, the church is called to follow Jesus’ model of humble, selfless service toward one another. Pride and selfish ambition have no place. As each member serves others in humility and love, the church functions as a unified community of believers.

Welcoming All People Regardless of Background

Jesus scandalized the religious establishment of His day by welcoming those whom polite society and religious elites scorned – tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, and other “sinners.” He embraced all who sought Him with open arms of love and mercy, often noting their exemplary faith (Matthew 9:10-13, 21:31-32).

His parable of the Good Samaritan illustrated the importance of loving those across ethnic and religious divides (Luke 10:25-37).

The early church struggled to realize this welcoming aspect, often needing reminders from the Spirit and leaders not to show favoritism (James 2:1-9) but to welcome Gentiles into the fellowship. Peter had to defend his association with Gentiles before Jewish Christians who still clung to their prejudices (Acts 11:1-18).

But the church recognized that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female but all are one in Him (Galatians 3:28).

Therefore, the church must follow Christ’s example of tearing down walls of division and welcoming all who come to Him. There is no room in the church for ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic partiality. Rather, the church embraces diversity within the unifying love of Christ.

The Purpose and Values of the Church

Worshipping God

The primary purpose of the church is to worship God. As Jesus said in John 4:23, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” Gathering together as believers to pray, sing praises, hear preaching, and celebrate communion all serve to glorify and honor God.

Public worship reinforces our love for God and reliance on Him.

Recent surveys show that over 80% of churchgoers say worshipping God is their main reason for attending church services. Whether modern or traditional, worship brings believers into God’s presence to focus on Him instead of themselves.

Making Disciples

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commanded His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” So a core mission of the church is evangelism – spreading the gospel and making new converts.

The church also nurtures spiritual growth in believers through discipleship programs, Bible studies, mentoring relationships, and ministry training. These activities aim to produce mature disciples who can teach and lead others.

According to the Barna Group, 87% of senior pastors say their churches have some intentional system for making disciples.

Caring for People’s Needs

Jesus consistently showed compassion and cared for people’s practical needs – such as feeding the hungry and healing the sick. He calls the church to serve the less fortunate through acts of mercy and justice (Isaiah 58:6-7).

Most churches today have benevolence funds or programs to assist members facing financial crises. They also channel resources towards community development initiatives and global aid partnerships.

83% of churches operate food pantries or other feeding programs
61% have programs to provide clothing/supplies to those in need
47% have housing/shelter ministries for the homeless

Loving one’s neighbor through compassion ministry is a practical demonstration of God’s unconditional love.

Leadership and Membership in the Church

Qualities of Church Leaders

According to the Bible, church leaders should be humble, selfless, and lead by example (1 Peter 5:1-3). They should meet high moral standards and manage their households and families well (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

Additionally, leaders should be spiritually mature, gently guide members, and ensure sound doctrine is taught (Titus 1:5-9). In 2022, a survey by the National Association of Evangelicals found 87% of churchgoers believe leadership integrity influences church growth and health.

Avoiding Hypocrisy and Self-Righteousness

Jesus strongly cautioned religious leaders against hypocrisy and self-righteousness (Matthew 23). Modern church leaders must heed Christ’s warning by aligning their words and deeds, readily admitting faults, and pointing people to Jesus rather than their own merits.

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC), around 90% of US church leaders in 2022 felt avoiding hypocrisy was “absolutely essential” for effective ministry.

All Members Are Equally Important

The early church treated all believers equally despite differences in ethnicity, gender, or social status (Galatians 3:28). Similarly, modern churches should value each member’s spiritual gifts and role in Christ’s body (Romans 12:4-8).

In 2024 and beyond, churches embracing diversity and inclusion will likely experience faster growth. Per CSGC data, over 95% of 18-29 year olds prioritize equality in their church involvement.


In summary, Jesus emphasized unity, love, service, worship, disciple-making, and meeting people’s needs as central to the identity and purpose of the church. While church structures may vary, Jesus’ teachings remind us that churches should ultimately be communities that glorify God and reflect his love to the world.

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