God’s mission for the institutional church: What are you and your church doing?

This art byJon Birch of ASBO Jesus says it all about our current state of the church and mission.

Regarding many of our old and struggling mainline churches, Daniel P. Smith and Mary K. Sellon says:

Declining congregations have lost connection with the Christian church’s basic mission of helping people experience God and live the gospel message of life and hope. Without this sense of mission to keep the congregation focused beyond the doors of the church, the congregation turns inward and loses connection with its community. Before others will turn to a congregation as a life-giving resource in their lives, the congregation has to be a place that offers life. When traveling by plane, passengers are reminded that in the event of an emergency they should put on their own oxygen masks before helping others. In congregational renewal, a congregation reminds itself of and intentionally engages in the basic practices of Christianity. It realigns itself with the basic outward-focused mission of church. (From: Pathway to Renewal, Alban, 2008)

How and where do we start bridging the gulf, tearing down the walls, and reaching out to the unchurched? 

We, or God rather, may have to wake up the institutional church from its deep slumber first before it can do anything. Some may have already given up hope on the institutional church doing its part in God’s mission. Sometimes, I do feel that way.  I hope your churches and congregations are more active in mission and evangelism than some of our mainline churches. 

What are you and your churches doing in the area of mission and evangelism?

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

4 thoughts on “God’s mission for the institutional church: What are you and your church doing?”

  1. Hi Kevin,

    Just wondering…

    Is there anything in the Bible about “mainline churches?”

    Did anyone in the Bible ever “Go To Church?”

    If not – Then how can anyone today “Go To Church?”

    Is there anything about “the Unchurched” in the Bible?

    Does anybody know what the word “church” means?

    Didn’t Jesus shed “His blood” for “His Church?” “His Body?”

    Did Jesus shed His Blood for a denomination, an institution,
    an organization, a business, a corporation?

    Should we call a corporation”the Church?”
    Should we call a denomination “the Church?”
    Should we call an institution “the Church?”

    How about, we call Kevin “The Church?”
    How about, we call Kevin “The Temple of God?”

    How about, we call Kevin “The Church?”
    Col 1:18
    And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, (the eklesia, the caled out), the church.
    Kevin is in “the body of Christ” “The Church.” Yes?

    How about, we call Kevin “The Temple of God?”
    2Co 6:16
    And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
    for ye (Kevin) are “the temple of the living God;”
    as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them;
    and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    God no longer dwells in temples made with hands.
    Ac 7:48
    Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands…

    You ask
    “What are you and your churches doing in the area of mission and evangelism?”

    When you say “your churches” what does that mean?

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  2. A.Amos, I think I understand where you’re coming from and I like what you’re saying. The church (in Greek: “ecclesia”) are “the called out ones.” The form and content of the called out ones, or ecclesia is a moot point.

    I agree, church as we know it in the established sense is man-made, even artificial if I may put it that way. Every established church is not what the early church looked like. We’ve gone far away from the early church. But what should we do about it? Shall we disassemble it and bring it back to what it originally looked like, or think it looked like? Imagine the chaos…the lack of leadership. We still need the programs because they’re what gives the people of God (church) a structure to carry out the mission of God to evangelize, teach and baptize.

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  3. Actually, this is an example of the root fallacy determining . For the word εκκλησια the roots individually considered are literalistically “called out,” but word itself means “assembly.” This has direct connection to Hebrews 10:24-25, which includes the word “ἐπισυναγωγὴν“ (related to synagogue).

    Of course, as Lutherans we understand “church“ in the sense of Word and Sacrament as the marks of the church; hence we assemble around Word and Sacrament, which is church. I think your questions about “trying to go back to the original” is a superficial way to go about (which is what I understand you writing). How the church is manifested in each age is dependent on not getting the form right, but being centered around Word and Sacrament.

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  4. Church = assembly? OR Church = Body of Christ, called out one’s? Hmmm?

    I will build my church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    the Lord added to the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    great fear came upon all the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    great persecution against the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    Saul, he made havock of the church, – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)
    entering into every house

    they assembled themselves with the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    Herod the king stretched forth his hands – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)
    to vex certain of the church

    and had gathered the church together – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    And being brought on their way by the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    they were received of the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)
    Hmmm? Must be a misprint?

    If therefore the whole church be come together into one place – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    Christ is the head of the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    Christ also loved the church, – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)
    and gave himself for it

    feed the church of God, – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)
    which he hath purchased
    with his own blood

    gave him to be the head over all things to the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    the church is subject unto Christ – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    he is the head of the body, the church – (assembly?) OR (body of Christ, Called out one’s?)

    And other sheep I have,
    which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring,
    and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be one fold,
    and one shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.

    If Not Now, When?

    In His Service. By His Grace.

    Like

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