WHAT IS THE CHURCH ANYWAY?
“The Church is made up of groups of people who share common beliefs; who get together for social contact and to support each other.” common statement
“So, what is the role of the church in society? For each member of the church to live a life worthy of the call in order to reach their own first, and in turn impact the world around them. Only then can our families be saved, our communities put back together, our nations healed, and our world impacted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Society begins in the homes of each individual member of the Church. It is interesting that Luke’s summary of the great commission
call to preach the gospel to all nations, however, it also commands to begin in Jerusalem first. In other words, the commission begins at home.”
“I believe the church has at least three roles to play in North American society. They are:
1. Witness to God’s love and power.
2. Call society to peace, justice and compassion.
3. Work toward the welfare of all members of society.” Duane Ruth-Heffelbower
“When speaking of the church, theologians often use terms such as the visible and local church as opposed to the invisible and universal church. The visible and local church is, of course, the physical churches that we see around us and around the world, as well as the members of those churches. The invisible and universal church, however, refers to all believers everywhere and is one church, united in Christ, not many physical churches. Everyone in the universal church is a true believer, but such is not necessarily the case with visible and local churches.
Why is it relevant to understand some basic differences between the visible and universal church? One key reason is so that we do not confuse what we sometimes see fallible churches doing with the reality of the universal church. Not only do visible and local churches often host nonbelievers, but also the believers themselves are imperfect, resulting in challenges and tensions in every visible church.
What Does the Church Do?
The church is not a building, but a body of believers with a specific nature and purpose. These biblical roles or ministries of the church are foundational to it. What are these roles? They are many, but key to any church are foundations in worship, edification and evangelism.
Worship is God-centered and Christ-centered. It is not about entertaining Christians with flashy displays or presentations, but about expressing our love by worshiping our Creator. We are to praise and glorify God in worship. As such, every Christian needs to be part of regular fellowship and worship.
Edification is also a role of the church. It involves edifying believers, but also nurturing, building up or helping believers to mature in Christ. To this end, churches are tasked with a variety of ministries such as Bible study, continuing education in related areas, praying for one another, acts of genuine hospitality and more.
Evangelism is also a key role of the church. This means reaching out to a lost world with the Good News about Jesus. Since people often have questions or doubts about Christ and Christianity, knowing the truth and being able to defend it (apologetics) is also part of the role of the church. But beyond evangelism in the sense of reaching out with the gospel, the church must also express compassion and mercy tangibly by helping others. In following Christ’s example to love others, the church, too, must seek to make a real difference in the world while not neglecting to share the message of Christ.” Focus on the Family
“People who have been set apart and called out from the world.”
“As the church, we are to demonstrate God’s power through miracles.
Jesus demonstrated the Father’s heart. It is now our job to do that.” Bill Johnson,
“When Heaven Invades Earth,” pp 109
I have heard a number of prophetic words that the church as we know it will change; that we will find each other by the leading of the Holy Spirit, instead of going to buildings with signs and pre-determined service times. We are the light in a darkening world.
I say the Church is the company of all who have given their lives to Jesus, from earliest history to the end of time, in all parts of the world. We are “glory carriers:” We bring God’s presence into every place and situation. Offering people the opportunity to experience Jesus firsthand is our most effective work.
What do you say the Church is? What is our place and role in the world?