Have you heard the old adage, “Church is a hospital for sinners not a hotel for saints,”? A discussion at a recent Bible study I attended got me thinking about it once again. What IS the baseline, nitty-gritty purpose of the Church?
Acts 2 talks about the formation of what has since become known as the church. “All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another. They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. 46 Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:44-47)
It seems to me that the early church formed to minister to those who had come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior. These believers then went out and witnessed to those who did not yet know Christ as Savior. Those people then became believers, joined in the church fellowship, and, in turn, witnessed to other unbelievers. “And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.”
In our Bible study, one of my fellow attendees, Paul, summed it up: “The church ‘within the building’ is here to equip believers to live for Jesus so that we can be the church ‘outside the building’, enabling us to reach out to others and bring them to Christ.”
Jill, another Bible study member, shared, “I see the church like a fire where I bring my poker to get it red hot so I can go out and light other fires. I need to regularly be coming back to the church—to the fire—to renew my fervor—to get my poker hot again.”
What is the mission statement of your church? What are YOUR ideas on the purpose of the Church?
©2017 Pamela D. Williams
P.S. My blogging friend, Floyd, reminded me how easy it is to get diverted from God’s purpose for the Church. Sometimes even our good intentions can get us sidetracked--feeding the hungry without sharing our spiritual Bread of Life, providing shelter for the homeless without showing them the way to our eternal Home, visiting the sick without offering hope from the Healer, etc. All of these ways of ministering are good and needful, but unless we are also clearly and consistently sharing the Good News of Salvation with the people we serve, we are failing to fulfill our purpose as the Church.