Earlier I wrote a post that consisted of me discussing different Christian denominations and how they compare to following Jesus. You can find that one here. Today I want to talk about the ‘Big C’ church.
Most of the time when we talk about ‘our’ church or ‘their’ church, we mean specific local congregations or gatherings of people that follow a specific type of theology. That’s why we get Baptist, Catholics, Pentecostals and so on. As my brother says it’s the people factor that creates division, and I can’t help but agree with him.
In a letter the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, he described the way in which a body has many parts. Not all of these parts have the same function. Not all of the parts have the same purpose, but they function together for the good of the whole body, not just it’s one little section. Here’s that passage from Romans 12:3-8;
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
I think we can look at this passage in the same way considering the both the global church and the local church without taking it out of context. For a local church, every member has a purpose. Some are leaders. Some are teachers. Others are finance people others are encouragers. Wealthy people should give generously according to the scripture and servants should serve wholeheartedly. Yes some of these cross-over but the point is that everyone has a purpose.
The same goes for the global church. Each one has a purpose, a reason for existing. One may exist to bring healing to the addicts and alcoholics while another may be great at restoring broken suburban families. (Yes the ‘perfect’ suburbanites have issues as well). One church may build a school while another builds an orphanage and yet another a woman’s shelter.
I wonder sometimes that if the people in a particular church caught the vision and direction of that particular place, if the global church would further flourish. If we quit arguing about worship styles and instead went to worship the Lord, then maybe we could find unity and strive to fulfill the command Christ gave us in Matthew 28.
I love the church because the church is Christ’s Bride. It was part of the reason for him to die on the cross for your’s and my sins. I love the church because it has a purpose, a reason to exist. Their is tremendous potential to change the world for Christ’s glory, and it should be done majorly through the church.
In closing I’ll leave you with this scripture.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.