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Monday, March 22, 2010

The Purpose of the my estimation

I affirm it is difficult to pinpoint the primary purpose of the church and that the purpose of the church is more multifaceted and complex than we want it to be. But if I had to hold on to one purpose as the primary purpose of the church I would want to hold on to worship. I don't mean worship as simply singing songs and reciting creeds, but worship as a 24/7 lifestyle that comes from the recognition that God is God and I am not. The church must teach people the Who, the why, the how, and the what of worship, but ultimately disciples of Christ must realize how worthy God is of our absolute devotion and how unworthy we are of his love. When this kind of authentic worship drives deeply into the heart of a human being, they will take their growth, mission, and ministry quite seriously.

The biblical story ends with worship, with all nations, tribes, and tongues represented around the throne of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Authentic worship, though it takes on different forms, ties together the Old and New Testaments. Authentic worship opens a person to the coming of the Spirit that empowers that person toward missional engagement with the needs of the world. And remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well? "The Father seeks people who will WORSHIP him in Spirit and in truth."

True worship is where discipleship, fellowship, ministry and mission begin and end.

What do you think?


Maria Cicala said...

Lenny, I too believe that we need to worship God in Spirit and Truth and there's no other way as in a favorite old hymn of mine says To Trust and Obey To Be happy in Jesus we must Trust and obey. To sit at his feet and have fellowship sweet and be still and listen to what he wants to say and than Obey What can I say but yes Lord! Church spurs us on to be who God wants us to be and what he wants us to do for him!

Jessica Graves said...

I understand your point...that the purpose is to worship in its fullest sense, as you have described. However, I would contend that the establishment of the church helped to bind the early communities together because they perceived themselves to be accountable to one another. Paul's letters are full of admonitions about how the members of the body each had purpose, and were responsible to and for one another. He provided extensive guidance on how they were supposed to act toward one another. I think that the purpose of the church is accountability.

I think that one can academically learn about Christ, and emotionally experience the love of God without interacting with other. I think that one can perform acts of praise and worship individually, without human contact. I think that we can each pursue a course of discipleship in the 'solitary of our aloneness.' No church required.

But I think that we are called as a body (church), to build one another up, to meet the needs of the community in which we live, and to SHARE God's love. All of these things require others to complete the activity. Worship, discipleship, fellowship, etc. are all functions of the church. But ultimately, 'the church' provides the context and framework for "relationship" which is at the heart of our faith. And relationships, at least healthy ones, require us to be accountable to and for one another.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Thank you, Jessica, for pinpointing one of the premier values and purposes of the local church- COMMUNITY! You have really hit the proverbial nail on the head. Life together with each other and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit fosters the accountability, support, and power that enables the church to do worship, fellowship, discipleship, outreach, and ministry.

Roberta Smalls said...

My primary goal for finding a church was that it be a place where I could really worship Sunday mornings. This has been possible because I have experienced the presence of God consistently in the worship services. There is something about worshipping God where the Spirit is released to have its impact in a corporate experience that is different than worship I have experienced alone. When the Scriptures talk about the Body of Christ it speaks of the Church and the local church at its best. My recent struggle with back pain emphasizes to me how each part of the body needs all other parts to work well together. Surely the purpose of the church is to learn how to help each Body part be the best it can be.