I recall training for the ministry and taking a class in Bible college where I heard for the first time the definition of the word “church” . It originates from the Greek ekklesia meaning “to be called out from” and I learned from that it means that a church is a group of people called out by God from the world with the mission of evangelizing the lost and edifying the saved. That definition seems to have fallen on hard times in our congregations these days but lest we be too hard on the mega church leaders clamoring for more money to feed their massive budgets and maintain their grand buildings perhaps it would be good for a little spiritual self-assessment: am I REALLY in tune with the definition so that God’s intent is also mine? Or am I “playing church”? The latter is so easily fallen into and the slip can be so gradual as to not be easily detected. We are great about being self-delusional thinking because I go to church things are peachy keen.
Revisit Acts 2 and you see when the church officially began and the excitement was there, the mission was not only clearly defined it was clearly practiced too. After Peter preached that great sermon at the feast of Pentecost (2:11-40) many accepted the Lord as their Savior and were then immersed or baptized in water to publicly identify that Jesus had saved them” “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (vss.41-42).
How many churches do you know these days where you routinely hear a clear presentation of the Gospel so that people are genuinely moved to be saved? And then how many churches follow through to disciple converts in the way the Lord wants them to go? Namely, believer’s baptism then the COMMITMENT (a “dirty” word these days) to JOIN that group of believers?? Then being encouraged to regularly and faithfully attend steadfastly to hear teaching of the Word as opposed to a light show, concert, comedy routine, or latest lecture on some thought provoking Christian book? Many that grace our pulpits today have stopped preaching the Word for it is not palatable to the younger generation and we need to cater to what they want rather than what they need, so say the church growth “experts”.
But how about the attender of even good Bible preaching churches with the mission in mind and the definition down pat? Are you regularly being a witness, sharing the gospel with the unsaved? You do remember they are going to hell, right? Are you praying for the growth of your church, not just numerically but in quality? Praying for your Pastor and his ministry? Encouraging him and one another by your serious dedication to be a good testimony and pitching in wherever God would have you to build up the congregation in your area? You should always be working on getting someone to come and working on discipling some one who does come. A church can be a great venue to socialize, and to find satisfaction in service but remember the definition, keep it in mind always so you dont fall into Satan’s trap of merely “playing church” !!