Vol. 7—Issue 4 March 2009
Pastor’s Breakfast April 30 7:30-9:30 @ River Park Church, Calgary (3818-14A Street SW) Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Indispensable Local Church
David Macfarlane addresses the group of church leaders at Priory Baptist in Guelph on March 3rd.
Cross the Street Engage your community with authentic faith. May 1—2 @ Centre Street Church 3900 2nd Street NE Calgary For info and to register call 1-800-293-3717
INTRODUCTION I believe the doctrine of the Church is one of the most exciting concepts of the Bible. Unfortunately, the word “church” conjures up many different images in the minds of different people. Almost instantly people think of a building. Some think of a denomination while others think of a religious club. When some hear the word “church” they think Christmas and Easter and others think of weddings and funerals. NEW TESTAMENT VIEW OF THE LOCAL CHURCH The word “church” occurs over 100 times in the New Testament and it always refers to groups of people. To be precise the word “church” means “a called out people of God”. The most common usage of the word “church” denotes the local church. It is the body of born-again believers in a certain locality and meeting regularly for worship, fellowship, edification and service. Beginning with the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, the word “church” occurs in 35 verses just in the rest of the Book of Acts and all refer to the local church geo-specifically. WESTERN VIEW OF THE LOCAL CHURCH Secularized Western society has an increasingly dismal perception of the Christian church in at least three ways: First, the church is irrelevant because it is disconnected with society. Secondly, the church’s message is unclear and unconvincing. Thirdly, the church is anemic as a change agent in society and of society. I believe this has contributed to many Christians
devaluing the role and significance of the local church. My conclusion from my observation and study of the global church is this: the church’s explosive growth and vibrancy happens where the leadership of the church is convinced that the local church is the most indispensable part of world evangelization – both global and local. That means the local congregation’s task is global! BIBLICAL REASONS WHY THE LOCAL CHURCH IS INDISPENSABLE The local church is a divine institution In both of Paul’s letters to the congregation in Corinth, he addressed them as “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1) even though they were having mega-problems and difficulties. From Acts 18:1-11 we learn that it was the apostle Paul who was the instrument the Lord used to establish the church at Corinth. It was not merely a human institution but a divine institution. We must resist the temptation to see the local church of believers as merely a human organization but as primarily an organism formed by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 20:28). The local church is the citadel of God’s truth In chapter 3 of 1 Timothy Paul is addressing church leaders and he is exhorting them to uphold God’s truth in the local congregation. He writes in 1 Timothy 3:15 that “the household of God which is the church of the Living God, the pillar and support of the truth”. The local church is the pillar and foundation of God’s truth in the community. It is the citadel of God’s truth and it is God’s ordained means to propagate God’s truth to all people. The local church is the instrument to send out God’s light The entire chapter 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation deals with seven geo-specific local congregations of the apostle John’s day. The seven churches are likened to seven lamp stands. The lamp stand is to emit light. The function of each local church is to send forth God’s light and to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed in a spiritually dark and needy world. The local church is the showcase of the Gospel’s Power The healthy local church is the crucible where the reality of the Gospel’s transforming power of human lives is experienced and evidenced (Acts 2:4247). Healthy churches are growing churches. The evangelistically growing church becomes the proof that Jesus died for all, Jesus rose again for all and Jesus is coming again for all believers. I believe that the local church is where the burden and passion for the lost is ignited for all believers.
The local church is the primary equipping center for ministry The local congregation was designed to be a growing community with an environment of love, acceptance and unity to enfold the new believer upon conversion and disciple him/her to take the Lordship of Christ in their lives very seriously (Matthew 28:18-20). Then the local church enables the believer to engage in ministry by helping him/her discover his/her spiritual gifts, learn to exercise them and then release them into respective ministries (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). CONCLUSION The local church is indispensable for world evangelization and so are the equipping evangelists. They enhance the flame to reach the lost, enlist others and train them for outreach to become an ongoing reality. Dr. T.V. Thomas is Director of the Centre for Evangelism & World Mission based in Regina SK and is on the National Team of the Equipping Evangelists
Breakfast anyone? Lunch maybe? We have recently realized people love to hear about Equipping Evangelists on a full stomach! A lunch in Whitby and a breakfast in Barrie brought many people together to hear about this exciting movement. Depending on availability, the National TV Thomas passionately speaks Team is very happy to visit your town to about the state of Evangelism in the church of North America. speak on Equipping Evangelists as a ‘curiosity building’ event with the goal of starting a network in your area. So far these are proving very fruitful and we are anticipating the announcement of several new Networks across the country. Please don’t hesitate to contact Network Director, Paul Simons: email@example.com or (705) 716-7271. A pastor spends time at the E2 booth gleaning materials and inquiring of Merv
Published on Apr 1, 2009