What is the purpose of the church?  This is an interesting and complex question that I believe deserves some attention.  So over the next few weeks I am going to post some thoughts about this here on the blog.  If you agree, disagree, or have other things you would like to add to the list along the way please feel free to comment. Rather than discussing all of these in one post I want to spread them out so we have time to consider each point and cover it thoroughly.   The points below and in upcoming posts are in no particular order.  So what is the purpose of the church?

  1. To produce disciples: God has always intended that His church would produce disciples.  This evolves the eternal transformation of one’s soul though the blood of Christ.  As well as the daily sanctification that comes when we walk in the Spirit.  Perhaps the most well-known verse on the subject is Matthew 28:19 when Jesus says “go and make disciples of all nations.”  Most believers and church leaders know that we are supposed to make disciples but many churches have ceased to even attempt to make disciples.  Why? To put it simply, because making disciples is hard work.  It takes lots of time, resources, and patience along with many other things.  As a result many simply go about making other things.  They put their focus into making good people, polite people, or politically correct people. Instead of making disciples they are more into making friends, nice church programs, a comfortable atmosphere, or just making excuses as to why they can’t make disciples.  These things are not bad things until they become the central focus in a church, and cause a church to lose sight of the priority of disciple making. When a church fails to make disciples it is missing out on its purpose.
  2. To provide resources: The church has always been and continues to be the most resource rich institution on earth.  The church has amazing resources because it is made up of so many like-minded, yet individually gifted people. Inside of any local church body you are certain to find a large variety of people with amazing talents, and abilities. When utilized and maximized the church becomes an incredible resource for everyone in the community.  Throughout scripture we find all kinds of resources being utilized and maximized for the kingdom. Financial resources, human resources, talents, gifts, abilities, and so much more.  Churches should understand that these resources are to be shared, and leveraged to have maximum impact for the Kingdom of God. We must not waste God’s resources by throwing them around unwisely, but at the same time we must not hoard them up for ourselves and never put them to use.
  3. To proclaim the gospel: 1 Corinthians 12:27 clearly teaches that all believer are a part of the body of Christ, and as a result we are all the church. The church we are speaking of is not a building, location, or organization.  The church is us!  We should therefore realize that it’s everyone’s responsibility to proclaim the gospel.  We must never think that this is only the job of the professional minister.  Rather it is a job that only the church can accomplish. In Mark 16:15 Christ calls believers to go and preach or proclaim the good news.  We must understand that this is part of the purpose of the church!  It is the purpose for our lives as believers.

Next week I will throw a few more things out on the table.  In the meantime think about these three things.  Is your church accomplishing these purposes?  Are you personally engaged in producing disciples, providing resources, and proclaiming the gospel yourself?