So what is the point of church? Why is it important? Why does it exist and what can it do for me? Should I actually be asking the question ‘What can I do for the church?’
Like the Romans, there is much that has been purely practical that the church has accomplished. Great social movements, charitable care, justice campaigns that have led to changes in the law have all come from church. Not to mention institutions like schools and hospitals many of which were started by churches.
Actually, for a Christian there are some purposes that the church embodies. Things that we cannot do alone. I believe that these purposes are actually best embodied in the people given to the church listed in Ephesians 4.
These people exist to equip the rest of the church to do the job which God left us on the earth to do. They are specialists who enable us all to be generalists. Without the richness of what they represent we could not produce balanced churches. Ideally each church needs either within it, or through input from outside, to have all of these different kinds of ministry inputing into them.
I listed these some while ago explaining that they each love different things I thought it would be wise to elaborate this further.
A Pastor loves Christians his purpose is to care for and develop his flock. He is not a counsellor as he will be directive, showing the way to a godly life. Arguably he cannot simply pastor but must also teach, although surely some will be happier pastoring than teaching.
A Teacher loves books Like a miner he can bring diamonds out of the dust of the earth. Ancient writings, in foreign languages will thrill him. Hopefully he is no mere academic studying greek and hebrew for the sake of it. Rather he seeks insights that will change lives. His pithy statements will bring revelation to anyone who listens. We need such men. We need to hear them preaching regularly. We need our lives to be moulded by the word of God.
An Evangelist loves non-Christians Sometimes happier in the company of non-Christians than Christians, he will act as a bridge. He will constantly remind the rest of us that a world out there is dying. He will encourage us out of our ghettos and into the world. He lives to see people become Christians, and to see Christians sharing the good news.
A Prophet loves God He applys God’s unchanging word into todays situation and the lives of his hearers. He will often preach, but in doing so the word becomes like a sword, swathing through the ideas of today. He cares not for what people think of him, being in love with God. Some will so love intamacy with God that their worship draws others into the very courts of God.
An Apostle loves the Church He is constantly checking the blueprint, and training new leaders. He wants to press on to new towns and countries satisfied only when vibrant self-governing churches are established. He will hurt when things go wrong, and somehow manage to pull churches back on track when they stray. He will be full of strategy goal and vision. He expands the minds of those who spend time with him.
Such a dynamic surely portrays the need we all have for each other. Any one of these people without the rest will lead a church into inbalance and error. The social club, the bible school, the mission station, the mountaintop, or the corporate organisation are not the church. I have been in churches like that and I don’t like it. I love being in a church where each part of the body is doing its work.
Perhaps it is because I am in such a church that I find it so hard to comprehend those who claim to be Christians but are not interested being in a local church. I pity them for what they are missing.