Friday, July 18, 2008

The Reason for Church

In an earlier post, I encouraged those dissatisfied with their own church not to drop out, but to find a church more to their liking. Today some say the Church is irrelevant, and some individual churches have become irrelevant. A church becomes irrelevant when it isn’t fulfilling its God-given purposes.

We have to remember that the Church is not the hierarchy, the clergy, or the organization. The Church is each and every believer, coming together as a body to do God’s work. Jesus established the Church to do his work on earth once he had ascended into heaven. The church operates under the power of the Holy Spirit, but it has to be open to the leading of the Spirit. Some are not, unfortunately, and they founder. Obviously there have been times in history when the Spirit was ignored and terrible things were done by the Church in the name of God.

Because the Church is made up of many people being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said we will be able to do great works (John 14:12):

“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” NRSV

As I believe I have mentioned in the past, the purposes of the Church are, in my opinion, the same as those mentioned in the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. As a matter of fact, we can best fulfill those personal purposes by being part of a church. Those five purposes are worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry/service, and evangelism/mission.

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