Some would have us believe that the church is a building, when in reality it is the people who make up the church. We do not go to church, we do not leave church, we are the church. So with that in mind what is it’s purpose? Jesus tells us that for one to be added to church (the saved) one needs to believe and be baptized. We have to ask ourselves the question, “How does that happen?” How do people come to know truth? How are they to learn? Who is the one who will teach?
One of the simplest answers to this questions is found in scripture. 1 Peter 3:15, I know this is used often to support this very idea, but I feel it necessary to show people what the role of the church is, it is not “just” to come on Sunday morning, evening, or even Wednesday night Bible Class. Our role as the church is to be able to have enough understanding ourselves to tell people of the hope that is inside of us. The word defense in 1 Peter 3:15, goes further than just talking , it carries forth the idea of giving a logical explanation to something that has evidence. If we cannot convince a person that what we believe has some concrete substance and evidence, than do we truly know?
Some would pass this responsibility on the preacher or elders, which in part is their responsibility but it is not theirs alone. Just because one attends worship, does not make one a Christian. While doing a study in the book of James, he does not mention worship once. The reason being, worship can easily be found and instructed in the matter of a few lessons or bible studies. Christian living is something entirely different.
Some think the church as a business and treat it as such, they think that making sure all the bills are paid, office material is there, and making everything run smoothly, is the work of the church. Since people have this idea of the church as a business they make their preacher and elders business men or office “people”. Yes there is business to be done in the church but is that really what you want your preacher to be doing? If so, did you hire him to make your role easier? or did you hire him to preach the word? Preachers have taken on roles, that from scripture were never necessarily meant to be given to them. Preaching the word in spirit in truth without the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit, that the apostles had, takes work and lots of study. The work of the church is not to pile it on one man or a few individuals.
God is wise and His wisdom surpasses ours greatly (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). He intended for a church to have elders (Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-7), deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13), preachers (Read the letters to Timothy and Titus), teachers (James 3:1), and individuals with different talents to accomplish His work (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:111-16). This is the role of the church: To make sure God is glorified (1 Corinthians 10:31), as we “go” be able to teach and give a defense to anyone at anytime (2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Peter 3:15), and to worship our God in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24). Everything else is done as an expedient to accomplish one of those goals.
If we are the church, then our job is to make sure we do our due diligence to learn and study (2 Timothy 2:15), be able to teach in patience (2 Timothy 2:24), live faithfully (1 John 1:7-10) and to worship our God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).
by Jesse Nelsen