Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who Is It For

This morning I am struggling with the question of who the church is for. I guess for me it is not a real struggle. Where I find the struggle is helping the church to understand for whom it exists. First let me give a definition of the church. The church is the community of people living, celebrating and witnessing to the Kingdom of God. Now that is out there I offer the church is intended for those who are not yet a part of it.

In our modern day the church can mistakenly think it exists for itself. For the care and pleasure of its "members". As long as I have been a pastor I have heard the cries of church members wanted the church to serve them. Flat out this is not the intention of the church. The church does not exist to be a care station for its own, now there needs to be healthy and supportive relationships in the church, but the primary reason for existence is not the care of its members. That would be a country club or some other organization, but not the church. The church is not to be about the care of itself, or the assurance of its existence. We have already been promised existence through Jesus Christ.

So what does the church exist for? To build relationship with those who are not yet a part of the community. To say it more simply, to give themselves away. Jesus said it is not the healthy who need a doctor, it is the sick (Luke 5). The context of this teaching is the religious people complaining about who Jesus hung out with, and contrasting who he was suppose to be with if he were really godly. Jesus shows us he made the earthly pilgrimage so that humanity could experience the Kingdom of God, not for themselves. Not to develop an alternative religion. The church was never intended to be a religion, or overly organized for that matter. The church is a movement, an organic movement, witnessing to the kingdom of God, giving itself away, and following its leader Jesus Christ.

If you are a part of a church, great, it is not for you. If you are not a part of a church, I pray we can be a witness to you of the kingdom of God.

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