Are You a Member of a Crowd, or a Church?

Posted: July 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


There is a lot of confusion about what comprises a church today. Recently I watched a lady do a children’s sermon. She took a can of corn, and then said, “I don’t like canned corn” and she ripped the label off and said, this is now Green Beans, and made her own label. She asked the children, “What’s in the can?” And they said, “Corn”. The label is not the issue, but the contents. We can build a building and put a sign out front and call it a church. But what does Jesus call it?

I have often quoted Emil Brunner who said, “A church exists for mission, like a fire exists by burning.” I read recently where someone spoke of the modern missional movement in churches as a “fad”. I suggest to you that any group of people, no matter the sign on their front door, that is not on mission to make disciples of all nations is not a church in the definition of the Bible. The missional movement is not a fad. It is the essence of the church.

Recently I conducted a doctoral research of Southern Baptist Churches. At that time, of over 42,000 SBC churches, only 100 could be identified as truly engaging an Unreached or Unengaged People Group. (Yes, I meant ONE HUNDRED; I didn’t miss any zeroes.) And let me hasten to say that missions is not defined by geography. It can be across the street, around the corner, or on the other side of the earth. It is the methodology of reaching the lost world with the Gospel. So honestly, are you a member of a church? Or just a crowd?

  1. Frank Lengel says:

    Yes! There are a lot of subtleties in the Greek definitions for the word “ekklesia,” but I see all the major meanings having to do with “assembling” and “purpose” (or mission). For the ekklessia, the people are called to assemble for a reason … for a purpose. And the purpose is rarely “holy entertainment” or “eloquent rhetoric,” though those certainly are nice.

    Yes indeed, we do often worship in our assemblies, but it is unnecessary to assemble if worship is the main point. We can worship anywhere … with almost anyone … at almost any time … or even worship alone with the Lord. However, we must assemble to fulfill the purpose that Jesus has for His bride, which is the body of Christ. But what is that purpose?

    In short, it is that God would be glorified. It is that His children would make Him known in a world that is otherwise blinded by lies and deceit. Worship can be accomplished in many different ways, but the purpose (mission), in general, of the body of Christ is always the same. To glorify God. To make Him known to the world around us!

    The mission (missions) is (or should be) at the heart of every assembling body. Otherwise, that body is in danger of becoming just another theater with lights, music, and a script to be followed. That is, of course, just my opinion. And I realize that some might disagree with my opinion. But it is what we live by around here. Changed lives always trump the number in attendance, and the number entering ministry for the purpose of glorifying God always trump the number we simply baptize.

    We pray for you, brother, as you continue to build and stoke the fire of missions. Without MISSION, there is no GREAT COMMISSION. Missions is at the heart of His commission to us.


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