4/07/2009

(3+1) Purposes of the Church

Edmond P. Clowney (pastor & theologian), explained the purposes of the church in terms of:

1) Ministry to God
2) Ministry to believers
3) Ministry to the world


1) Ministry to God: Worship. In relationship to God the church's purpose is to worship Him, for God has destined us in Christ "to live for the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:12). Worshiping God fulfills the major purpose of the church with reference to God. I was surprised to hear/learn that Worship means to ascribe worth (ship) to God (Isaiah 6:3; Romans 11:33-36).

2) Ministry to Believers: Nurture. According to Scripture, the church has an obligation to nurture those who are already believers & build them up to maturity in the faith (Colossians 1:28), and not just to an initial saving faith.

3) Ministry to the World: Evangelism & Mercy. Jesus said, "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). This is the primary ministry the church has toward the world, together with a ministry of mercy even toward those who are ungrateful, wicked and selfish (Luke 6:26).

4) Keeping these 3 purposes in Balance. All 3 purposes must be emphasized continually in a healthy church. A strong church will have effective ministries in all 3 areas. Attempts to make 1 of these 3 purposes primary will always result in some neglect of the other 2. For example:
  • emphasizing worship results in inadequate Bible teaching, shallow understanding of Scripture, immature believers
  • emphasizing edification of believers results in spiritual dryness due to little joy in worshiping God or telling others about Christ
  • emphasizing evangelism results in immature Christians who emphasize growth in numbers but with less genuine love for God and others
Don't you think this is a short simple explanation of the purposes of the church?

Blessings,

Ben