WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE AS A CONGREGATION?
In our world today people conduct endless polls. "What's your opinion about this? What do you think about that?" While opinion polls can have a useful purpose, the question posed in this article is not to be answered by a poll or survey. Congregational purpose must be grounded firm and solid, not just upon what the members think. Therefore we have a constitution in which the Preamble reads: "It is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples should preach the Gospel to the whole world. That Christ's mission for His church might be carried out . . . He has commanded that Christians:
- Unite in worship. (Hebrews 10.24-25)
- Practice fellowship with one another. (Acts 2.42)
- Witness to all peoples. (Acts 1.8)
- Help each other grow in the Word. (Ephesians 4.11-14)
First: "Unite in worship." This refers to the public worship life of our church. And since not all of our members (shut-in, home-bound, sick) can be with us, we have a care-ministry.
Second: "Practice fellowship with one another." "Christian fellowship" is uniquely expressed in the Greek word KOINONIA. It's coming together for the mutual building up and edification of the body of Christ. It happens as we join in worship, in service (Ladies Aid, Men's Club, Lydia Circle, etc.) As well as when we gather socially, for the sausage supper, dinner auction, and so on.
Third: "Witness to all peoples." This is everything by which we connect in the community as citizens, as neighbors, as leaders and helpers. All for the ultimate purpose of lifting high the cross of Christ. Much more could be said about this of course, but not enough time or space!
Fourth: "Help each other grow in the Word." This is specific and precise, it is the preaching and teaching of the Word and it is the faithful and proper administration of the Sacraments. We have a Good Shepherd who loves and wants to feed and nourish His flock and it dynamically connects with the first point as we unite in worship. Therefore God says, "Do not neglect meeting together."
Martin Luther said, "A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing is nothing." These days it's not uncommon to hear people say, "I may not be religious, but I am spiritual." It's my observation that this is another way of saying, "I might not go to church, and I'm really not interested in the purpose of the church and besides I have a lot of other things to do." My response to this is to remind us all that our Lord yet today calls to us, "Follow me." Now if you wanna talk about what following Jesus means, then give me a call, shoot me an email, or text, or just come to church next weekend!
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