Believers made for church or vice versa?

There’s times when some believers will say, “it feels like we’re only in this church to serve its ministries.” This weightiness of duty grows from the belief that believers are called to tasks and ministries to keep the church alive, as if the church takes precedence over people. But, when church is focused on the edification of believers then the tasks of ministry no longer feel like a burden shouldered for the sake of the church. Instead, ministry is what it is meant to be; believers taking responsibility for the sake of the faith and health of other believers, as John Owen writes:

Let none mistake themselves herein, believers are not made for churches, but churches are appointed for believers. Their edification, their guidance and direction in the profession of the faith and performance of divine worship in assemblies according to the mind of God, is their use and end ; without which they are of no signification. The end of Christ in the constitution of his churches, was not the moulding of his disciples into such ecclesiastical shapes, as might be sub-servient unto the power, interest, advantages, and dignity of them that may in any season come to be over them ; but to constitute a way and order of giving such officers unto them, as might be in all things useful and subservient unto their edification; as is expressly affirmed, Eph. iv. 11 — 14. The church was made for us, not we for the church.

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