What is "the Church"
We have to counter some common misconceptions that come from our culture but don't reflect God's intentions from Scripture. First of all, a church is certainly not a building, but a collection of people who are committed together to follow Jesus.
Likewise, there is no evidence in the New Testament that Jesus intended for his church to be an organization or institution [really? back this up]
The church exists as a testimony to surrounding society
The church exists to provoke individuals to deeper commitment and faith, including life together as a community. This necessarily includes
- teaching God's word and its practical application to daily life
- providing a place of accountability where others can challenge us to walk closer to Jesus, and can lovingly confront us when we sin, and can hear our confession and restore us to fellowship with God and His church
The church exists to provide an earthly mechanism for worship, mirroring the praise that will be the focus of eternal life with God.
The church in the world exists to demonstrate by word as well as action God's love for all. This means the church must be about its Father's business: to demonstrate practical love toward those in need, as well as proclaiming the God's truth to those outside the church
There's a natural tendency for a church to be centered around one or more gifted individuals who have an ability to teach (and perhaps entertain), some personal charisma, vision, and leadership skills. But over time this can lead to the church becoming subservient to this individual's personality and agenda. There comes a subtle shift from this individual serving others, to others serving his or her vision. In larger churches, staff get hired based on this person's view of the needs of the organization, and in the case of personality clashes, the leader wins.
Copyright 2004 sean boisen
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