Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Great Congregational Purpose

What is the Good News? A friend recently wrote on Facebook:
This past week I've asked probably a hundred people, "Do you know what 'The Gospel' is?" Not a single person felt they could give me a positive answer. Most of them didn't even care.
My answer is described on some old P'nei Adonai web pages that never got taken down from being online.

What is your answer, if you care?

The instruction to share the Good News is nicknamed the Great Commission. Notice the command is given to Yeshua's followers as individuals. It is not inherently a congregational purpose.

So what is the scriptural reason for a congregation to gather? What did Yeshua or the Apostles tell congregations to do?

That is a question with almost as many answers as congregations!

I was prompted to think about it again when recently at a meeting held at Norkenzie Church. On the wall of the meeting room was painted that church's answer: We exist to reach and prepare people for Eternity with Christ.

The word "prepare" makes that statement include a lot more than the Great Commission, but in my mind that statement is still confusing our individual responsibility with a community's purpose.

My favorite answer, based upon Ephesians 3:10-11, is "to demonstrate God's ways". Since God's ways are about how to relate to him and each other, only in a community can we show heaven and earth that God's ways are best even in this broken and sinful world.

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