The Bible defines the purpose and work of the church. The church exists for the worship of the Triune God to be experienced, furthered, and proclaimed in and through the community of the redeemed, to the ends of the earth.
Three essential characteristics of a healthy local church have been historically recognized among Protestants:
- The right teaching of the Word of God.
- The right practice of her sacred ordinances.
- The right exercise of church discipline.
In addition, the following three tasks are central to her mission:
- The nurture and discipleship of Christians.
- The proclamation of the gospel in word and deed to non-Christians.
- Merciful service to the poor, oppressed, and marginalized.
Therefore, the essential practices of a healthy local church include:
- The proclamation of the good news about Jesus to both the lost and the found.
- The teaching and study of God’s Word.
- The making of disciples.
- The right practice of the sacred ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- The proper exercise of church discipline.
- Service to others, particularly the poor, oppressed, and marginalized.
- Missional engagement across the street, around the world, and everywhere in between.
This series lays out my understanding of the church’s purpose and mission. It is drawn from my philosophy of ministry, available here.