"The church is the community of all true believers for all time. This definition understands the church to be made of all those who are truly saved. Paul says, "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Eph 2:25). Here the term "the church" is used to apply to all those whom Christ died to redeem, all those who are saved by the death of Christ. But that must include all true believers for all time, both believers in the New Testament age and believers in the Old Testament age as well" -Wayne Grudem
The closest fellowship, as Christians, that we can ever enjoy on earth is within the body of Christ. "Brethren" is an endearing word for the intimacy of our union with Christ and, therefore, with each other. It was used by our Lord immediately following His bodily resurrection from the dead to portray His deep affection and love for those He came to save (John 20:17; cp, Heb. 2:11).
There are close to fifty "one anothers" in the New Testament that describe in wonderful detail how our lives are to be woven and lived together within the body of Christ. The world may not know of Paul, Stephen, Luke, Peter, even Moses or David, etc.; but they do know you and me and they are watching. What a joy to give up all rights to self and serve without reservation each other in the body of Christ as a witness and testimony of His life-changing grace. We should not come to church seeking what we can get, but more importantly, asking how we can give (1 Peter 4:10).
I have defined ministry as:
service to God and His creatures as we employ our Spirit-given giftedness, according to the instruction of Scripture as good stewards of the manifold grace of God for the advancement of His kingdom; that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (cp, 1 Peter 4:10-12)God has designed genuine ministry to be inseparable from the life, fellowship, and leadership of the local church. Any ministry that does not strengthen one's commitment to the local church is inconsistent with the purposes of Christ (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:23-25).
Committed to the Lord of the Church
Firstly, Jesus Christ promised to build the Church-therefore, my commitment should be to it (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:39-47).
Committed to Love the Church
Secondly, He purchased the Church with His own precious blood-therefore, I love those for whom He died (1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 3:14-16).
Committed to Labor and Serve with the Church
Thirdly, the Church is the predominate agency through which God's will is manifested on earth-therefore, it is the community with whom I labor (Ephesians 1:9-10; Colossians 1:28-29).
Committed to the Life of One Another in the Church
Fourthly, the Church is the only earthly expression of heaven-therefore, we must daily grow together in conformity to the fullness of Christ (2 Peter 3:10-14; Revelation 4:4-11; Ephesians 4:12-13).
Committed to Lasting Victory for the Church
Fifthly, the gates of Hades will not prevail against the Church-therefore, in light of the assured victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, our worship and toil is not in vain (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 15:54-58).