As I stated in two prior blogs here and here one of the two questions one must answer before planting a church is Define Church, what is church. Because you’re definition of church and Why you want to plant one is foundational to what you do. These two issues are so very critical, they will set in motion the chain of events that determine what is created, the answers will mold and shape what you do.
What the scripture tell us Church is to be, its purpose, what it is all about, the description we see of the first church must be our goal, blueprint for church, it is there and only there we must and should get our definition of church.
And that definition as I see reviled in scripture and seek to plant is:
Church is first and foremost people, the body of Christ. As well as Church is a way of life, not a systematize set of programs or event. You don’t begin with a structure or a church strategy; you begin with people, people in community with one another, a way of life that is lived out by the people. Church is all about Jesus Christ, about His life and death, living in oneness with Him, fellowship with Him, worship of Him and the teaching and proclaiming of His Word and His gospel to one another.
Church is about all things related to our intimate connection with God through worship spiritual formation, and prayer. Everything related to how God works His redemptive ways among people, the spirit, the word, discipleship and community. Church is a gathering together with two or more around Jesus, a gathering centered on communion, worship, His word and oneness with Jesus, and being on mission with Him on the earth.
Church is where people, the body of Christ come together for intimate life together, to encourage, edify, build up one another, equip each other for service, admonish each other and love each other.
Where we exercise our spiritual gifts for the benefit of each other, and in servant hood, serving others. To be fed the word of God, the meat of it to cause spiritual maturity and growth of the body.
Gathering together for corporate worship of God in the spirit. To have a communion meal together, the breaking of bread, which is the sharing of a meal in remembrance of Christ life and death. A time of study of the word of God, time of prayer for one another and the meeting of the needs of each other.
Church is an intentional and purposeful act of carrying out of all of these things by all, church is not spectator event, something put on by a few for the many, it is not a time or place for entertainment. It is other and service centered, you go with the intent, purposes of given, serving others, contributing your spiritual gifts for the good of the body, to share your resources with those in need, to do and give. You go to be the church, to bring a song to sing, to teach a lesson, share a word, to build up the body, to share a meal in love and fellowship with others.
Church was never meant to be for non-believers, let me repeat that Church was never intended to be for non-believers. It is not about, or for unbelievers, to be designed to be for them, it is for the body of Christ and about Jesus and the Kingdom Life. Yes unbelievers can visit it, but not to be the focus of it. What they should see if they visit one is see the body of Christ in action, experience true worship by true worshipers in love with God in Christ, not entertainment, fellowship in true love for one another, the word of God taught straight out of the bible and the meal of Christ being shared. See the heart of the Christian life on earth, church and a people in a real relationship with a real God. See the gospel incarnated in the lives of the people, see how the gospel transformed the lives of the people, see tangible prof that Christ is alive and active in the lives of the people, see want it means to be a Christ follower, see what the Kingdom life and church is all about, and it’s not a Vegas show.
Do you see how my definition of church shapes what I plant.
A few scriptures on what church is about: Act’s 2:42-47, 1Cor 14:6 & 26, Rom 12:3-16, I Cor 12:1-31, Eph 4:11-16, Eph 5:23, I Pet 5:1-5, James 5:14, Col 1:18, I Thes 5:11, Jud 1:20, 2 Tim 4:2, Tit 1:9, Heb 3:13, I Pet 5:1-4, Rev 2:1 – 3:22