Acts 2 to U2 – What is the Purpose of the Church and How Do We Get Back?

(Yes I realize U2 isn’t the chart-topping machine they used to be, but I like the alliteration and what not…)

In episode 0124 of the podcast, we talked about the purpose of the church and how it affects our worship ministry. I wanted to follow up that episode in hopes to get some conversation going about how we should be doing church as opposed to how we are doing church.

What is the Purpose of Church?

When we look at the Bible what do we see as the purpose of the church?

  • The Great Commission
  • The Great Commandment/Worship
  • The Second Greatest Commandment
  • Authentic Community/Love
  • Helping the Poor and unfortunate
  • Taking care of the Widows and Orphans
  • Am I missing any of the major ‘purposes’ of the church?

Now, Question #1: How much time do we spend doing any of these things on a given week and how does that compare to the amount of time we spend on other things related to production, performance etc…? 

How did we get so far away from it?

Maybe you don’t think we are off track – I’d love for you to let us know why in the comments section below. But if you look at where the church spends its money, it sure seems to be off track. Buildings and Salaries. And when money gets tight, what are the things that get cut – missions, outreach and other ministries?

To me, we got so far away from it one step at a time. It wasn’t all at once, just a gradual descent away. It’s natural for any movement. The further away you get from its origination, the harder it is to stay in line. We don’t notice the little things we take for granted, then they don’t get passed on to the next generation. We decide not to emphasize one of the purposes, and it gets lost.

It probably wasn’t intentional. It just happened gradually over time.

We also get away from the purpose of the church when we decide the world knows better. We think the way the business world works is the way the church should run. We think the production value of a U2 concert is the target we ought to be the paradigm for how we produce worship services (I actually remember an article back a while that describes a U2 concert as being more worshipful than a church service…). The thing is, the world is in pursuit of things that are entirely opposite of what the Kingdom of God is in pursuit of.

The world is about money and fame and status. The Kingdom of God is about giving and humility and lifting others up. We cannot draw our practices for doing church from a world who has motivations that are entirely backwards from the very nature of the church. Thankfully the church wasn’t doing this while KISS was popular, most worship leaders wouldn’t look very good wearing that much makeup. But somewhere between Acts 2:42 and U2 the church got caught up pursuits that have very little, if anything to do with God.

Am I saying we shouldn’t do these things? I don’t know. Do you?

How Do We get back on track?

That’s question #2: How do we start taking steps toward getting the church back on track?

Chime in below, let’s get more discussion going on this all important topic. Who knows, if enough people start talking about it maybe – just maybe – things will change.