What is the mission of the Local Church?

Next Monday evening, the local church of which I am a member will be having an open meeting of members and adherents to discuss “The Mission of the Church”

As part of a larger denomination, ie not an independent church, this has caused me some concern. Some will be aware that I am concerned that a significant number of people in the congregation do not understand the implications of their Christian faith in daily living. Even some in national leadership do not seem to understand those self-same implications.

In post-modern post-Christian Britain, what is the mission of a local church? I can see several answers and they are not mutually exclusive.

The first is to be a barracks teaching the faith to those who have come to believe, akin to a soldier’s basic training, so that they will be able to give an account of what they believe and why they believe it to those who have not yet come to a saving faith in Jesus. It could also act as a place for refresher training for those who have forgotten why they put their fith and trust in Jesus in the first place.

The second is to be a hospital for those who are battered and bruised by the outworkings of this world so that they can better cope with the brickbats that are thrown at them by the world, and the aggressive secularists within it. In this context it would be to support those who have been discouraged or worse in their walk with God, as well as those who find that trying to live a healthy life in their own strength is beyond them.

Thirdly, it could be a place where we expect people to come to learn about the Gospel, and we do not make any active attempts to communicate the Good News to those who do not come in.

Fourthly, it could follow the Methodist Church nationally, and some of the local preachers on the circuit and preach a false gospel, which is proud of its rebellion by ignoring those parts of Scripture that do not conform to the spirit of the age.

Fifthly, it could be an engine of mission to communicate the gospel in the local area, and if this is the case the church needs to think through what changes it needs to make from its current comfortable modus operandi to enable this to happen. In this case it needs to consider who it needs to reach, whether this be children, young adults, families with young children, older empty nesters, young single women, young single men or whatever demographic. If it takes this route, then it needs to consider how it will communicate the facts of the Faith to new converts, and how it will communicate to people who might well have other routines for filling evenings and weekends that have not yet included any thoughts of spending time worshipping God.

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About UK Fred

A Christian who cares that the church in Britain conforms to societal demands, rather than transforms society. I am particularly concerned with the lack of support for marriage and the acceptance of divorce in the church. I also care that the body politic in Britain seems to be corrupt and in need of a good shake-up.
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3 Responses to What is the mission of the Local Church?

  1. Jon Gleason says:

    Fred, you probably already know what I’ll say, but the answer is found in Ephesians 4:11-16.

    The “more excellent way” to use spiritual gifts is found in I Cor. 13. (see the few verses preceding that chapter at the end of chapter 12). The purpose of gathering together is found in I Cor. 14:1-3.

    Evangelism cannot be effective unless people know we are truly followers of Christ. The way we are told they will know that is not our skill in apologetics or our eloquence in presenting the Gospel, or the magnificence of our outreach programs. It is found in John 13:35. So if part of the mission of the local church is evangelism, I would suppose we should start with teaching and modeling how to live that verse.

    • ukfred says:

      And you knew that I would agree, Jon, but never mind.

      My concern is that the national and local leadership are probably not even aware that they are preaching a false gospel. Faith is only good is the person or happening in which one has faith is true. There is no point in standing at Victoria Station in London looking for a 43 to Friern Barnet because that bus never goes to Victoria. When the minister of the church is not even embarrassed when his wife freely admits to being in rebellion against Scripture and says that “The Bible is not the be all and end all of the Christian faith”, I believe I have good cause to be alarmed at the possible outcome of this meeting. Most of all, I fear that it will encourage complacency when none ought to exist. I wonder whether we are more like the church in Thyatira, Sardisa or Laodicea; Thyatira because the Methodist Church does indeed tolerate those who lead the Lord’s servants into sexual immorality, Sardis because with an aging population and few young members it is about to die, if not already dead, and Laodiciea because it is neither hot nor cold, it neither is entirely of the world, but then again it nor does speak out against sin in its own ranks.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Ouch. Well, when national leadership is foul, it’s hardly surprising when local leadership isn’t always fair to behold, either. Sin is contagious.

        If “the Bible is not the be all and end all of the Christian faith” then God lied in II Timothy 3:16-17.

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