Now before you all hurl virtual stones my way, know that I only have one good monitor, so be careful. Also, be sure you think through this before you react. The basics of the ‘evangelical’ church are of course three fold:
- Evangelize the sinner
- Equip the saint
- Exalt the savior
The problem lies in the balance of these three. Most ‘churches’ (and I use that term lightly) adhere to one or two and ignore the other. If you are out of balance you won’t see biblical health overall, but an extremely unfocused vision for the body.
When you consider two places in scripture, a five-fold purpose can be derived for the church. The issue is discerning how the purposes of the body of the living King are supposed to be manifested and achieved.
Matthew 22:37 records Jesus quoting old testament scripture and qualifying the two most important commandments as Loving God with all you are and have and loving others as yourself. For basic purposes we call this the Great Commandment.
The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28 and it gives us a charge to share our faith and LIVE LIFE together in order to assist each other in our growth in Christ. From these two places in scripture we find purposes related to:
- Worship – Loving God
- Ministry – Meeting other’s needs through love
- Evangelism – Making Disciples
- Fellowship – Baptism (Life Together)
- Discipleship – Learning to obey
When we discuss the ‘church’ most of the time we define it as an organization of believers. The scripture begs the difference on this matter. No where in scripture does the division of THE CHURCH become specific. In letters to other parts of the world the writers would address THE CHURCH in Philipi etc. Not A CHURCH…
So seeing that the body of Christ has many responsibilities, which of these corporately are we supposed to work on and adhere to? Let’s look at them. Worship – in all that you do Honor God with your life. So in essence, everthing we do is an ACT of worship. Worship is a condition of the heart, not a practice of the body. Corporate adoration and celebration of God’s presence and working in our lives is only real when EACH of us have worship in our hearts for the Father.
Ministry is something that can take place corporately, but in all honesty, it can never be as effective as individually sacrificing to meet the needs of those that God has put in our paths. Now to fellowship and discipleship. Neither of these can be seen in programmatic ways. In other words, there is nothing that the corporate church can manufacture to make these possible in the life of the body.
Living LIFE together can only take place naturally – meeting each others needs as they arise. Discipleship is a process by which a person desires to know God more and be like Him. This can only take place when a person’s heart is ripe to grow in God grace and mercy.
When a person comes to the point of growth, worship will explode in their very soul over WHO God really is and WHOSE they really are. When this is in place then evangelism is a natural consequence of a ripe heart. Churches are not started and maintained to grow the population of Heaven, they are in essence a place to grow the heart of the believer through accountability and life together.
So if you think about the purpose of the ‘large’ church organization – it’s just to worship once a week so the children of God can BRING their worship to the hearts of each other. Now evngelism and other purposes will take place from time to time, but in essence, it’s all up to me and to you.
In order for the body of Christ to truly be healthy, each of us are going to have to get on a heart check daily so that we are in a constant state of worship of our most high God. Then and only then will we see revival and repentance in the lives of the world!