Purpose for the Church


(jesse porter, jr) #1

Every denomination seems to offer evangelism, but I have seldom been in a church that evangelized nor that taught the congregation how to evangelize. Especially today, church services seem to function primarily as a time and place to feel good. I don’t object to feeling good, but I more often leave a service feeling empty than full. I remember, years ago, churches having ‘revival’ meetings, and of course Billy Graham’s crusades. But most church meetings, then and now, are attended almost exclusively by life-long members.

There is, no doubt, a certain amount of social benefit to church attendance, but to what Christian purpose?


(John J Stanley ) #2

The church has been and always will be a people called by the Lord
. Churches are buildings. Denominations are man’s often flawed attempts to explain what and why he believes what he does. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, as we are told in Hebrews 13:8. He is a God of consistency. The purpose of His church has never changed! We are to be in eternal relationship with Him.


(jesse porter, jr) #3

Thank you. And I agree.
Perhaps I could have more clear: the purpose of attending church.


(John J Stanley ) #4

Jesse,

Hebrews 10 tells us beginning at verse 23, "let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Corporate church attendance is a place we may encourage each other. I am on the prayer team at my church and have found one of the times of the service when I feel most blessed is when I am permitted to pray for others.

The next part of the service I have come to love is praise and worship. I was always a guy who sort of checked out until the message, but no longer. Being with Christ in heaven means we get to praise Him in the company of all other believers and the Heavenly host. While heaven is not an eternal worship service, it is a core component of being in God’s presence. Isaiah found that out and recorded it for us in Isaiah 6:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted,seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

And in Revelation 19 we see it is the saints who are doing the praising
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.

Assembling together is a snapshot of heaven. We worship the Lord. We serve Him. And We hear His word; in heaven we will hear from Him in person. I can’t think of a better reason to attend a church service than this.

John


(Jimmy Sellers) #5

This is not an attempt to answer the question but I thought it would add to your thread. I for one have not differentiated between the church universal and the local church but Norman Geisler has. This chart is from his Systematic Theology V4 Church Last Things.


(Brittany Bowman) #6

@Jimmy_Sellers, thanks for sharing this. I’ve learned a lot from it.


(Brittany Bowman) #7

@jsporterjr, thanks for asking this question. It caused me to consider an area I hadn’t previously pondered much. These two podcasts were really interesting. They took a much more different approach than I anticipated, but in doing so were quite convicting in personal areas of my life. In many ways, this forum is a place my heart has learned how high to jump. Even though we’ll never meet each other in person, it’s cool how there are so many people who log on just to spur on one another around the world. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I don’t really speak with knowledge, just personal reasoning in this direction, but perhaps it’s important to separate cultural changes from an ever-present God? Yes, I like my peers have a bad habit of isolating myself with technology and not wanting to get up early for church. However, God proves His pursuit of us is greater than upholding a cultural tradition of worshiping at a certain time, or even face-to-face. Phone apps, evening services, this forum all still infiltrate our daily lives . One of the books I’m reading, “Abandoned Faith,” challenges the church to consider whether providing free pizza and a speaker on campus each week could be just as effective as adding an extra morning service. I’ve imagined humorously today how ecstatic my grandma would have been to find Connect, but I also know if God had provided that resource to her, I wouldn’t have developed a curiosity from the questions she asked my dad at lunch. God used the communication patterns of her generation for His divine purpose, just like He is using my generation’s love for technology (in lieu of communication) today to connect us with so many more resources than my grandma had. It’s just in ways we will probably know. If you’re looking for ideas on how other churches host activities, try a “morning marathon” and see how many denominations’ services you can fit into one morning around town. It’s a lot of fun :D.

I’d like to suggest perhaps we don’t have a large revival like you mention is because the “faithful few” are burned out. Those events take a lot of preparation. Perhaps sharing this Connect Forum with those folks in your church will give them a spark of encouragement? I’m looking to helping people log on when I go home.

Rural church marketing is a cause close to my heart. However, I’ve wondered, “What is there to publicize if they don’t have events?” This prompt today helped me realize the best marketing comes from word of mouth. A friend who recently was renewed in their faith shared it wasn’t anything I said but rather the fact that the church was full of broken people who met them in their brokenness that won them over. Similarly, the RZIM team’s unity was the largest testament to their witness during the mission trip. I need to be reminded, like the podcasts suggest, that admitting my brokenness is the greatest testament to the Church.


(jesse porter, jr) #8

Thank you! Do you have any suggestions for those who desire to steer their church in that direction? I am not a leader in my local church, largely because I see very little of what you pointed out there (nor in any church I have belonged to or attended.)


(jesse porter, jr) #9

You have definitely made my day. Perfect response!.