Mar 1, 2013

Missing the Point

Why does the church exist? What is the purpose of the church? What is the church supposed to do? produce?

I guess you can answer that in many ways. But, not all views on that would be correct.

I have some ideas of about why the church exists, but I can tell you with absolute certainty what the church doesn't exist for.

  • The church does not exist for denominations, institutions, and structures. 
    • All three are to serve the purpose of the church. 
    • They are never to be an end in themselves. 
    • The church of Christ was doing fine before denominations, institutions, and structures, and will continue to thrive without such. 
    • Denominations, institutions, and structures are only valuable and needed as they serve the mission of the church.
  • The church does not exist to make sure that a particular localized expression of the church exists. 
    • When a particular church fails to live out the mission and the ministry of Jesus Christ, there is no loss to the kingdom when it closes its doors and ceases to exist.
  • The church does not exist to meet your needs or mine. 
    • While a Christ affirming, Jesus ministry-doing, Holy Spirit mission accomplishing church will make a difference and impact lives, the church of Jesus Christ doesn't exist solely for me, or you. 
The church of Jesus Christ is Christ's body - we exist to carry out the mission and the ministry of Jesus Christ. This is demonstrated when new Christians are born as a result of the ministry of the church, and when those new Christians are equipped and inspired to mature into becoming fully-devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.

There are many days when I cannot help but wonder if my denomination gets this, because there are too many days when my denomination acts as if my church and my ordination exists to support its on-going viability. 


Not me. 

I belong to Christ. My ordination is in his church. Of which I happen to be in the PC(USA) family for now. But should my denomination fail to be about the mission and the ministry of Jesus Christ, it doesn't mean my faith nor my ordination ceases have a home. It still belongs to Christ. 


ghallead said...

Good stream of thought, James. The congregation I currently serve is asking the same questions and answering in the following ways.

The First Presbyterian Church of Wellsboro exists to equip people to glorify God and to prepare them to enjoy Him forever by:
Proclaiming the gospel for the salvation of humankind;
Providing for the shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the
children of God;
Providing for the maintenance of divine worship;
Preserving the truth;
Promoting behavior which honors God; and
Exhibiting the Kingdom of Heaven to the World.

A lot of this, of course is older material but it underscores strong Biblical and Confessional traditions. This is an essential question for each of us to ask.

Bill Teng said...

Preach it, brother!

Bill Teng said...

Preach it, brother!