Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Theology of the Church

What is the purpose of the church? What is the church suppose to be doing?
There are 5 types of churches that I see:
1. Seeker church- focused mainly on winning the lost (or shuffling the sheep).
2. Country Club church- focused on fellowship and feelin' good.
3. Holy Huddle church- focused on discipleship and being separate from the sinful activities of the world.
4. Liberal church- focuses on caring for the poor, needy, hurting.
5. Dead church- doesn't really excel in any of these areas. People go because they have always gone to that church. They don't want to be like "those other churches" so they don't really do anything.

Now let's look at the dark side of each:
1. Seeker church-usually struggles with discipleship or depth (um, kinda like GCC in Mishawaka).
2. Country Club church- people are struggling, dying, going to eternity apart from Christ everywhere & they don't seem to mind much. Keith Green drew a brilliant picture of this church. ------>
3. Holy Huddle church- similar to #2 but with less joy & don't even bother helping anyone, especially those outside of the church. They are typically so individually focused on their sin, that they don't have much time for others.
4. Liberal church- terrible theology, and some become so bad at theology that they forget about the depth, richness of being in Christ. Also, they sometimes neglect their personal holiness.
5. Dead church- there is no dark side seeing that it is all the same color of black. ......I have nothing else good to say about this church.

So, what is the church suppose to do? What is it good for? What purpose does it serve? Is it more than just hanging out with sinful people on Sunday morning? Why does God want us to be a part of this messy thing called "the body of Christ"?
Oh, ekklesia- is the Greek word for church. It means the "called out". It is those who are believers in, trusting in Jesus, the Son of God, as Christ (savior) and are striving to live for Him.

This study is a brief summary of my studies & is not an in depth blog. If you want a lot of supporting verses, let's go out for coffee & have fun digging through the text.

So what is the church suppose to do?
I see 5 primary thrusts.
1. Help people come to know Jesus, so they can have peace with God (Matthew 28).
2. Help people grow up in Christ (Matthew 28). What is commonly referred to as discipleship.
3. Equip & encourage Christians to serve (Ephesians 4).
4. Care for the needy, hurting, helpless (Matthew 22).
5. Live a holy life (Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 22).

In my opinion, all Christians need to focus on: 5,4,3 (at least in encouragement), 1
According to Ephesians 4, pastors need to focus primarily on: 3,2 while not neglecting the others. People in the church, who are not called to be pastors serve in 1,2,4. Pastors equip people that they can do this well.
So, if you are a Christian, you should be about living a holy life, caring for people, encourage people in their faith, help people grow in Christ (teach a class, lead a small group, help with VBS, start a sports ministry, etc), and reach your neighbors with the good news (neighborhood Bible Study, help a neighbor shovel the snow, missions, frequent a place to share Christ, etc).

Let the pastors focus on their thing & don't leave all the work up to them. I was just talking to a Catholic lady yesterday and she asked me why I don't see a priest for confession. I wanted to tell her that I believe in the priesthood of all believers, but didn't because I wanted to keep the focus on Jesus. We all can take part in serving God. Ephesians 4 says that pastors are to equip God's people for service. A pastor's job is to proclaim God's word & train YOU to serve in various ways.

Also, some people, who say they are Christians (cough), separate themselves from the local church & still think God is happy with them. Nope. God has called us to community. These people need to put away their angst & get plugged in. Is the church often annoying & full of hypocrites? I certainly hope so! Hypocrites & annoying people need Jesus & need to grow up in Him, just as we educated, sophisticated, near perfect people do (I smell a bit of sarcasm here).

Anyhow, in order to be a healthy church, which fires on all cylinders, we need to put focus on all 5 of these areas. In order to be a balanced Christian, we shouldn't put all of our focus on one area. So evaluate yourself to see if you are living out a healthy theology of what it means to be a Christian.

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