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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What is the Purpose of the Church?

I often find myself wrestling with this question lately. It is part of my personality to want to streamline, simplify, and focus beyond the details to the big picture priorities. I realize that the Church cannot be put into a small box with a singular purpose. Rick Warren, despite what you might think of him or his theology, has helped many people recognize that the Church consists of at least 5 primary purposes- Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Mission (outside the church), and Ministry (in the church).

But, if we had the chance to ask Jesus what he feels is the most important purpose of the Church, how do you think he would respond? What biblical insights support your conclusion? I will give my thoughts after I hear from a few of you.


esallo said...

I read your post a few days ago and have been thinking hard on this answer. I think that if we were to ask Jesus what He feels the most important purpose of the church is He might respond with the following:
1. Grow up, mature into deeper relationship with Him and each other. Ephesians 4:15 " But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ."
2. Grow up so that we can be like Him and continue doing what He came to do which is stated in Luke 4:18 " The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD."
3. Continuing what He came to do falls in step with the purpose He gave us in Matthew 28:19-20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

cbaney said...

Wow, the Holy Spirit has been leading my heart down the same path, even the exact same Scriptures came to mind.What a confirmation; thank you!

Ministries, gifts, plans, and purposes can be as diverse as those God created to fulfill them.
However, Jesus said in John 4:23-24 "A time will come,indeed it is already here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking just such people as these. God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

Whatever the ministry, Jesus is looking for a Church that will consecrate and commit itself in Truth and Spirit, becoming fully immersed rather than wading around in the shallow end.

If so, then I believe the purposes and plans of the Church simply cannot fail; "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 4:20

Sincerely, your sister in Christ,

Lenny Luchetti said...

Thank you Erica and Carolyn. It sounds as though Erica would say discipleship is the main purpose of the church and that Carolyn is suggesting that worship is the main purpose of the church. It is certainly difficult to pinpoint one thing as the most important calling of a local church. Both of you point to vital scriptures to formulate your thoughtful responses. Thank you!~