SIX FUNCTIONS OF THE CHURCH
Why do we meet together each week for worship and instruction? With much less bother, couldn’t we worship at home, browse the Bible and listen to a sermon on the air or the internet?
But why? What is the church for? The church has many functions. To greatly help bring out different facets of the church’s work, some Christians have used a four- or five-fold scheme. For this article, I’ll use six categories.
Our relationship with God is both private and public, and we need both. Let’s get started with this public interaction with God – worship. It is possible to worship God whenever we are alone, however the term worship usually suggests something we do in public areas. The English word worship relates to the term worth. We declare God’s worth when we worship him.
This declaration of worth is manufactured both privately, inside our prayers, and publicly, in words and songs of praise. 1 Peter 2:9says that people are called to declare God’s praises. The implication is that is a public declaration. Both Old and New Testaments show God’s people worshiping together, as a community.
sing emotion. Our relationship with God also involves our minds, our thought processes. Some of our interaction with God will come in the form of prayer. Being a gathered folks of God, we talk with God. We praise him not only in poetry and song, but also in ordinary words and normal speech. Along with the Scriptural example is that people pray together, as well as individually.
2) Spiritual disciplines
Worship services are only part in our worship. The Word of God must enter our hearts and minds to affect what we do throughout the week. Worship can transform its format, but it will never stop. Part of our worship response to God involves personal prayer and Bible study. Individuals who are becoming more spiritually mature hunger to learn from God in his Word. They are simply eager to give him their requests, praise him, share their lives with him, and become alert to his constant occurrence in their lives.
Our dedication to God involves our heart, mind, soul and strength. Prayer and study should be our desire, but if they’re not yet our desire, we have to do them anyway. This is actually the advice John Wesley was once given. At that time in his life, he said, he previously an intellectual grasp of Christianity, but he didn’t feel faith in his heart. So he was advised: Preach faith until you have faith – and after you have it, you will surely preach it! He knew he previously a duty to preach faith, so he did his duty. And in time, God gave him what he lacked: heart-felt faith. What he previously formerly done out of duty, he now did out of desire. God had given him the desire that he needed. God will do the same for us.
Prayer and study are occasionally called spiritual disciplines. “Discipline” may appear to be a punishment, perhaps a distressing thing we force ourselves to do. But the real meaning of the term discipline is something that “disciples” us, that is, teaches us or helps us learn. Spiritual leaders throughout the ages have found that certain activities help us learn about God, love him and become similar to him.
Paul told Timothy, “The items you have heard me say in the presence of several witnesses entrust to reliable people who’ll also be qualified to instruct others” (2 Timothy 2:2). Every Christian can teach the fundamentals of the faith, to give an answer concerning our hope in Jesus Christ.
Individuals who have already learned should become teachers, to pass the reality along to new generations. Teaching is often done by pastors. But Paul commands every Christian to instruct. Small groups provide one manner in which this is performed. Mature Christians can teach both in word and in example. They are able to tell others how Christ has helped them. When their faith is weak, they can seek the encouragement of others. When their faith is strong, they can help the weak.
The church is sometimes called a fellowship; it is a network of relationships. Most of us need to provide also to receive fellowship. Most of us need to provide and receive love. Fellowship means a lot more than speaking with the other person about sports, gossip and news. This means sharing lives, sharing emotions, bearing one another’s burdens, encouraging each other and helping individuals who have needs.
A lot of people put a mask on to hide their needs from others. If we are really going to help one another, we have to get close enough to one another to see behind the masks. This means that people have to let our very own mask collapse a little so others can see our needs. Small groups are a good place where to get this done. We become familiar with people a little better and feel a little safer with them. Often, they can be strong in the area in which were weak, and we are strong where they may be weak. So by supporting one another, both of us become stronger. Even the apostle Paul, although he was a giant in the faith, felt that he could be strengthened in faith by other Christians (Romans 1:12).
Service should be done both inside and outside the church: “As we have opportunity, why don’t we do good to all or any people, especially to people who participate in the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). People that isolate themselves from other believers are falling short in this facet of Christianity. The idea of spiritual gifts is important here. God has positioned each folks in the body “for the normal good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Each folks has abilities that can help others.
“Go into all the globe and preach the gospel,” Jesus commands us. Many of us need a lot of improvement in this field. We’ve been too conditioned to keep our faith to ourselves. People can’t be converted unless the daddy is calling them, but that will not imply that we shouldn’t preach the gospel! Jesus told us that we should.
To work stewards of the gospel message, we cannot just let other people do it. We can not be content to employ other folks to do it. Those forms of evangelism aren’t wrong, nonetheless they aren’t enough. Evangelism needs a personal face. When God wished to send a note to the people, he used visitors to do it. He sent his own Son, God in the flesh, to preach. Today he sends his children, humans in whom the Spirit is living, to preach the message and present it appropriate shape in each culture.
We have to be active, willing and eager to share the faith. We need enthusiasm about the gospel, an enthusiasm that communicates at least something about Christianity to our neighbors.