What is church all about?
The church is the assembly of all people past, present, and future under the headship of Jesus Christ (Eph 1:22-23). It consists of the:
- The universal church—all believers in heaven or on earth;
- The visible church—local congregations of close acquaintance; and
- The local church—the particular assembly of the individual.
The church came into existence when the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost (Act 4:1-4). The church is both an organism (“the body of Christ” or the “bride of Christ”) and an organization (“the temple of God” or “vine and branches”).
But why do we go to church? Is it to get a “feel good” experience? Do we go to church to “catch-up” with our friends? Not at all! We go to church to learn and to become equipped to do the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12). That is the mission of the local church.
The form taken to accomplish this mission is largely open to the specific group in place and time. However, the function of the church is well defined and has four primary components.
- Evangelism promotes growth by defending the gospel and by offering the gospel to the unsaved.
- Edification is the process of training members to be productive disciples thereby building up the church. Edification involves teaching, prayer, fellowship, and the conducting of the ordinances, but it is also responsible to provide discipline as needed to uphold its public testimony, to maintain a pure and united body, and to restore offenders to fellowship (Matt 18:15-20).
- Worship is praise and rejoicing as our natural response to God’s salvation and His provision of our daily needs.
- Service results from the disciple doing the good works that God laid in advance. (Eph 2:10). Our love for God should result in serving others (Matt 22:39). James 1:27; 2:1-11; 2:15-17 and 1 John 3:17-18 point to the need for the church to be involved in acts of Christian love and compassion for believers and non-believers.
How do we determine how well we are doing at meeting this mission?
In our culture we like to measure things. All we need to do to determine what is important to a church is to evaluate the statistics that are measured. Dr. Larry Moyer has identified two types of churches (click here to see his article): the congregation-minded church and the community-minded church. According to Dr. Moyer, a congregation-minded church has an inward perspective and a community-minded church looks has an outward perspective. Put another way, the congregational-minded church puts its effort into filling the church and the community-minded church seeks to build its congregation so they can go into the community and share the gospel to the lost and disciple those who have trusted in Christ.
Dr. Moyer lists seven distinctives that separate congregational-minded from community-minded churches.
|Congregational-Minded Church||Community-Minded Church|
|Method of Growth||Transfer||Conversion|
|Purpose||How Can We Benefit our People||How Can We Reach Unbelievers|
|Emphasis||Strong in Biblical Teaching but Not Evangelism||Strong in Biblical Teaching and Evangelism|
|Statistics of Success||How Many People Call This Their Church Home?||How Well Have We Shared the Gospel Within the Community?|
|Application of the Bible||Bible Teaching as the End||Bible Teaching as the Means|
|Ministry||Tends to be Program Centered||Seems to be People Centered|
|Spending||Spends Little on Evangelism||Spends Significantly on Local Evangelism (Above Missions Budget)|
Dr. Moyer’s point is that we need to immerse ourselves in the Bible so that we can boldly share God’s Good News with the community around us.
Therefore, each of us must look for opportunities to learn a Biblically accurate method for learning how to evangelize. We at Truth Fellowship Live will be offering such training in the near future.
How ready are you to learn to share your faith with your friends, family, and acquaintances?
Perhaps you would like to take a step of faith this week by inviting a friend to Truth Fellowship Live.