By: Pastor Adebowale Ibukun Tosin –
What exactly is the purpose of the church?
From observation, the average person sees the church as a solution centre to all his problems. Fine, God solves problems, meets our needs, changes situations, however, we must be able to situate this in its proper context. When you attend church meeting every week and the opening charge is how you should do your best to lay hold on ‘God’ like Jacob and not let Him go till He blesses you, you’re probably a victim of human religion adorned with a form of godliness!
And this is one major reason why many can’t stay committed in a local church for a good while. Someone said to me, ‘I’m moving on from my church’ and I asked why? She says, ‘The God of so and so hasn’t done it all these while.’ Done what ma?! Okay, she needed a better job, a husband, more money and all. And every Sunday people keep testifying of God’s goodness but she’s there hoping to have her own fair share of the ‘heavenly cake’ someday and it seems time is not on her side.
Was she wrong to expect God to change her situations? No! Is that a reason to join or leave a local church? No! Imagine Abraham in a local church all those years without a child? Would it be right for him to quit? But you see, her decision to leave wasn’t the problem. The main problem is how church has been presented this way: God do my own or I leave and find another church!
Common themes for meetings are: It’s Your Time today. Your hour has come. It’s Your Season. Entering Your Promised Land. Next Level. Power Must Change Hands. Breakthrough Secrets. Let God Arise. Promotion is Not From Abroad. Miracle Visa Service. ETC. This is the engagement of some churches through the year! The church in the book of Acts is a clear contrast. (Please endeavour to read through the book of Acts). You will see bible study as a priority, Prayer, Evangelism, Ministering to needs by the church. This is church!
Hebrews 10:24-25 captures a core reason for our gathering…
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Our gathering is for stirring up one another unto love and good works through exhorting ourselves! Ephesians 2:10 says we are His workmanship created in Christ for good works prepared by God for us. Titus 2:14 says Christ purified for Himself His own special people zealous for good works! Our gathering is for training us to do these works! Not just any ‘good work’ but good works in Christ! At John 14:12, Jesus says, he who believes in Me, the works that I do will he do! The same works!
So, the major problem we address in church is IGNORANCE! Ignorance of the word of God! Ignorance about our assignment in Christ! We grow in our knowledge of Him. We learn effectiveness in the work of ministry. This is the major purpose of our gathering as believers. Meeting needs is secondary! Training for service is priority! Where there’s an urgent need for food, clothing, and shelter, we don’t give prayer points, we provide as a church! 1 John 3:16-18; James 2:14-17.
The major purpose of the church is for training and maturing the saints! Every responsible parent trains his children and doesn’t just give them bread. Any child not trained turns out irresponsible! The ministry gifts are for equipping, training, maturing, edifying, and building the saints!
Ephesians 4:11-12; ”And He Himself gave some to be Apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” Have you seen this?
So, if I’m attending a church where training and maturing for the work of ministry isn’t a priority, maybe that’s just an NGO using the name of Jesus. God’s idea of church is a place for making men disciples and ministers of the gospel of reconciliation. Whether rich or poor, young or old, equal training is received. Whether you’re a lecturer or mechanic, doctor or musician, the church teaches us to be effective ministers of the gospel.
Paul was a tentmaker, Priscilla and Aquilla too. Luke a physician, Erastus was treasurer of the city (Romans 16:23). Those are earthly occupations. They all were ministers of the gospel of Christ! The church is a ministry school composed of the family of God, where needs are met and training is our priority.
THINK ON These Things.