The Purpose Of The Church
By Simeon Young
Thoughtful Christians ponder the utter uniqueness of the Church. They understand that the Church is no mere social redundancy – doing things that can just as easily be done by a service club or a social organization. They realize that the mission of the Church can’t be sub-contracted out to others.
One of the greatest needs in the Church today is a sense of purpose and destiny.
What is the Church? What is the purpose of the Church? The uncomplicated truth is that, first and last, the Church is the Body of Christ; bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. It follows then, that the purpose of Christ and the purpose of the Church are the same. John wrote, “….as He (Jesus) is, so are we in this world” (I John 4:17).
Throughout Christ’s short-lived ministry He reached out and touched people. And people reached out and touched Him. When this happened people were made whole.
Making people whole is the purpose of the Church.
Reduced to its irreducible minimum, the mission of the Church is to touch people redemptively and to carry Herself in a way that causes people to want to touch the Church and to want to be touched by the Church.
The Church is people-not a building. The Church is not organized religion. When the Church touches people that means that people are touching people. When people trust the Church that means people are trusting people.
People wanted to be with Jesus. They were not afraid of Him. They trusted Him. They were open and vulnerable in His Presence. They trusted their children to His arms and lap.
People need to feel the same way about the Church. People need to know that the Church cares. They need to feel warmth and sincerity and compassion from the Church.
If people shy away from the Church we need to make sure that it’s not because the Church is aloof and cold and intimidating.
I said the Church is not a building, but that it is people. The Church is not even people in a steepled building. The Church is as surely in session at the gas pumps on Monday afternoon as it is on Sunday morning.
The Church has a greater chance of touching and being touched at the gas pump or in the restaurant or in the work place than on padded pews. Stained-glass religion is not really a spiritual force in the world. But gas-pump Christianity can bring wholeness to broken and fragmented lives.
There are times when a hurting human needs an understanding ear and a gentle hug more than he needs a tract on the Oneness. If we will take the time to listen and have the compassion to offer a helping hand maybe, just maybe, we will have the opportunity to introduce him to the one true and living God.
Jesus didn’t carefully select those who would be blessed by His ministry. His followers were a ragtag lot-lepers, harlots, cheating tax collectors, fishermen, and farmers.
They came. They saw. They heard. They touched and “as many as touched His garment were made whole.”
I said, “They came,” but actually Jesus came to the people. He came to where they lived and worked and ate and slept. He met people on their own ground.
If we are too holy to let someone blow smoke in our face, then we are holier than Jesus. Furthermore, we’ll miss the opportunity to bring wholeness to fragmented lives and homes.
The common people heard Jesus gladly. Only religious hypocrites felt ill-at-ease in His Presence. Though Jesus was the incarnation of holiness, harlots and publicans felt safe with Him. Somehow Jesus conveyed that the worst sinner could find love, acceptance and forgiveness from Him. This fact alone disarmed people and made them eager to touch Jesus and be touched by Him.
The world has more than enough hatred and rejection and unforgiveness to offer. Let the Church offer love and acceptance and forgiveness and people with broken-down lives will beat a path to our door to find the wholeness they desperately need.
Make no mistake, to promise that sinners will find only love, acceptance, and forgiveness in the Church is not to offer license. It is the only way the Church will ever have the opportunity to nurture and disciple and equip lost humans.
Where else can they go?
(The above information was published by the TRUMPET, March 1990)
Christian Information Network