As related by Dr. Roger Baker, of Calvary Baptist Church and Seminary of King, North Carolina, there are five distinct purposes of the local church which can be found in two important statements made by the Lord Jesus. Consider the following…
#1 THE GREAT COMMANDMENT (Matthew 22:36-40Matthew 22:36-40
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
WP-Bible plugin) – summarizes the entire Old Testament
- We are told to love God which is WORSHIP
- We are told to love our neighbor which is MINISTRY
#2 THE GREAT COMMISSION(Matthew 28:18-20Matthew 28:18-20
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teach...: or, make disciples, or, Christians of all nations 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
- Told to make disciples which is EVANGELISM
- Told to teach which is DISCIPLESHIP
- Told to baptize which enlists believers into FELLOWSHIP of the local assembly
We can see how the five purposes of the local church are found in these two statements. ALL five must be carried out. The church has been equipped to do so, but, for one reason or another, many local churches get out of balance and fail to successfully carry these out, as a complete unit, consistently.
Consider the following statements very carefully and compare with YOUR local church. Can you see any resemblance with the following characterizations?
- Some churches major only on EVANGELISM and could be considered as evangelistic centers. Soul-Winning is the responsibility of every believer, but it is not the only purpose of the church body collectively. In this scenario, the pastor is seen primarily as an EVANGELIST.
- Some churches major only on DISCIPLESHIP and could be considered as information centers. The local assembly should take the lead in providing sound Bible teaching and provide fertile ground for personal growth and the maturation of God’s children, but this is not the sole purpose. In this scenario, the pastor is seen primarily as a TEACHER.
- Some churches major only on MINISTRY and could be considered as program centers. Helping people by various services, and ministries is great, but not the sole reason for the church’s existence. In this scenario, the pastor is seen primarily as a COORDINATOR.
- Some churches major only on FELLOWSHIP and could be considered as fellowship centers. We should fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ, but there are people to be evangelized and trained. In this scenario, the pastor is seen primarily as a “SOCIALIZE-ER”.
- Some churches major only on WORSHIP and could be considered worship centers. Worship is absolutely essential in our lives as believers, but it is not the only purpose of the New Testament Church. In this scenario, the pastor is seen primarily as a PRIEST to bring people into the presence of God.
Many well meaning congregations have been unbalanced in their pursuit of fulfilling God’s purpose for their local church. As a result, people are not well balanced. Each of these purposes: evangelism, discipleship, ministry, fellowship, and worship are necessary and equally important. They function together as a unit.
Some could convincingly argue the point that we should be happy to excel in one or more of these areas; individually. They would argue that it ought to be acceptable and admiral to be overly balanced in any, one, of the purposes. After all, they are, in fact, things we are supposed to be exemplifying.
One may be extremely offended by this post’s assertions, but the fact of the matter is that we need BALANCE. I do not use the term balance as “CODE”for some weird, doctrinal position. In fact, I personally feel it to be considered a compliment to have a church known for some of the individual purposes mentioned in this post. Who wouldn’t want to be known as a soul-winning church? This, however, is not the point. The 5 purposes of the church should be carried out in a balanced approach.
Would you consider purchasing…
|Exploring People of the New Testament|
By John Phillips / Kregel Publications
In the same tradition as the John Phillips Commentary, this volume in the John Phillips Bible Characters series provides a rich exposition of the lives of 47 significant, and sometimes overlooked, people in the New Testament such as: Mary, Herod, John the Baptist, Lazarus, Paul, Luke, the ten lepers, and many more. This resource also includes detailed outlines and numerous illustrations and quotations.
Originally posted 2011-01-12 00:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter