Rick S. Sellers, Pastor
Mt. Zion GBC
What makes a church? Several years ago a pastor from California wrote a book titled THE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH. Since then, Rick Warren has become a rather common name among active church leaders. In Warren’s book he explains that there are 5 basic purposes for any church. (Read the book for more specific details.)
As Jesus spoke with the disciples He intentionally taught them the purpose for His coming, which was to establish His Church. This was clearly evident as He spoke to the disciples in the 16th chapter of Matthew.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19 [NKJV])
In today’s society there seems to be a confused understanding of the church. If the church is truly about accomplishing and fulfilling its purpose then each church will be supportive and celebrate the work together in the community.
Churches are never to be in competition with other churches. This is not a game. It is not a race to see who can build their membership roster to fastest. Churches that are true to their biblical purpose know that it is not about competition but rather it is all about reaching people with the great message about God’s love through Jesus Christ.
True church growth does not occur when new members move from one church to another. True church growth occurs when those within the church reach out to those around them, introducing them to Jesus Christ. At the church where God has placed me to serve I established a practice pretty much at the beginning in dealing with people from other churches. If I know someone is affiliated with another church, or if they are disgruntled, I will love them through Jesus Christ but will not pursue them. Some might think this is an uncaring attitude but I would disagree. Churches do not grow according to the biblical mandate if all we do is transfer members from one church to another.
The Church must be firmly established upon the Word of God. When Jesus spoke with Peter and the other disciples He wanted to gauge their understanding. Many people had their opinion about who Jesus was but He needed the disciples to know with certainty. We must know for certain that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to point the way to God. The Church must be firmly established on an accurate understanding of who Jesus is. Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” There is absolutely no other way. This must be the solid fundamental principal on which the church is established. For anyone to teach any other way to God and heaven is deception, it is a lie!
This explains why I believe that churches are not and cannot be in competition with each other. There is far more at stake than simply living a good life. The church must, if it is to be a part of the Church, reach out and point all people to the love of God through Jesus Christ. Let all competition cease! Let the churches unite under the banner of Jesus Christ and reach our world for Jesus Christ!
Rick S. Sellers, Pastor
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