Most Christians are connected with a local church or, at the least, most would have experienced their informative days as a Christian, in a local church – believers in the non-western world even more so as they place very high value on community.
The local church and what they learn from their association with the local church contributes significantly, to the formation of their Christian beliefs, values and world view. These invisible realities outwork themselves in lifestyle, actions and general behavior!
If following the initial stage of being nurtured in the faith, a believer is not pursuing meaningful participation in the world Christian movement, something is amiss! Taking a ‘birds eye’ view of the content of Paul’s letters to the churches we find Paul emphasizing:
- Nurture in the faith (doctrine and spirituality)
- Christlike conduct (towards believers and the world)
- Participation in the growth of Christ’s kingdom (ministry to the Body and to the world)
In an attempt to diagrammatically explain a local church, Paul might be proud of, we may come up with the following:
- The Church has two main components – Input and Output.
- Input is concerned with nurture. Output is concerned with equipping for effective ministry.
- The main theme that feeds into the church is the world Christian movement (WCM).
The WCM is ‘seeded’ into all nurture programs. This way the new believer understands that he/she has been saved to participate in the greatest happening on the planet. Blessed to be a blessing not simply blessed to be blessed! The new believer begins to discover that not only does God love him/her and has a plan for their life but rather, GOD HAS A PLAN and He loves them and has a special place in His plan just for them!
The church (God’s people) then engage in kingdom ministry in the world where God has strategically placed them.
I have two questions for you:
- What do you think of this philosophy of church?
- What characteristics does a church take on when themes, other than the WCM, become the dominant theme that feeds into the local church? Other common themes are possibly ‘successful living,’ ‘prosperity’, ‘fellowship’, ‘heaven,’ etc.
Looking forward to viewing your comments!