by: Gary L. Hutchens
I’m afraid many people have a somewhat clouded understanding of the church. Who are we? What are we here for? What are we supposed to do? What is my responsibility as a member of the church? What is our mission?
The apostle Paul identified the church as “the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27). The church is therefore identified in a very personal way with Christ. Paul went on to say in that verse that those who belong to the church are “members individually.” That means that each member of the church has a personal identity with Christ. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, speaking of every individual member of the church, he stated, “For we are members of His body…” (Eph. 5:30).
Obviously, we are the church. The church is not a building, it is the members who worship God within that building. It’s the people, not the steeple. Whatever the church is supposed to be, that is what we are personally supposed to be. Whatever the church is supposed to do, that is what we are personally supposed to do. Each one of us bears personal responsibility along these lines. Nobody can bear our responsibility for us as a member of the church.
So, what is the mission of the church? The church is to stand upon, and stand up for, God’s word of truth (1 Tim. 3:15). We are to aggressively teach God’s word throughout the world (Eph. 3:8-11). The Great Commission is clear: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’” (Mk. 16:15-16). We are to make known to everybody everywhere the saving message of the gospel of Christ. The church’s basic mission is to evangelize!
Most people all over the world are lost in sin (Matt. 7:12-13). They need to know they have a Savior through whom they can be forgiven and assured of eternal life. It is the mission of the church to teach them about their Savior, to communicate to them the hope that He died to offer them. Basically, everything, everything the church does should be geared toward helping souls come to salvation through Jesus Christ.
What is my personal responsibility in regards to the church’s mission? As already noted from scripture, as members we are the church, the body of Christ. So, as a member of the Lord’s church the church’s mission is my mission. Each one of us should be focused like a laser beam on evangelism, on reaching out to lost souls with gospel of Christ. We need to see everybody around us as souls and interact with them accordingly.
Nobody can do what you are responsible for doing as a member of the Lord’s church. Not a preacher, not an elder, not a deacon, not a Bible class teacher, not some other member of the church. You are personally responsible, YOU are the church!…
Gary L. Hutchens