Church: Whose Idea Was This?

Most of us who were raised in Christian circles will spend our entire life involved in the church to one degree or another. But what do we really know about the history of the church? Who started it, and why do we even bother being part of a 2,000-year-old organization, anyway? How has the church survived that long when most other organizations, and even entire nations, have long since failed and vanished from the face of the earth? Why are people willing to give their lives for the church, and exactly how big of a commitment should we be willing to make?