I fear that many of us have lost sight of the purpose of Church. The primary purpose of Church, as I see it in the scriptures, is to train Christians for battle. Followers of Christ have a mission in this World, to proclaim the excellencies of our King. On Sundays, however, I worry many people show up to Church with another purpose in mind, to be entertained. We expect videos, jokes, PowerPoint and praise bands. We want our senses to be tantalized. We want a show.
There are three books in the New Testament that shed a lot of light on how Churches should operate, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. If I were to summarize what these books say the primary purpose of the Church is, I would say it is the teaching of sound doctrine (Titus 2:1 – “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”) I may be mistaken, but I don’t believe Paul mentioned in these three letters the purpose of entertaining the congregation. This is because Paul knows that Jesus is more concerned about truth then pomp and circumstance. I am guessing that is why Jesus did not have a praise band warm up the crowd before the Sermon on the Mount. (Don't get me wrong, I love worship music, and I love praising God, it just must be in its proper place.)
The text above is a great example of what I am talking about. Paul is telling Timothy, a pastor of a church, that there must be a high view of the Bible; that the Bible comes from God and should be used within God’s Church. If we believe that the Bible is breathed out by God, it is simply ridiculous not to saturate the Church with it. In fact, it is mutiny to make God’s Word secondary. We tend to forget that the Church is not ours, it is Gods.
Many churches love to say that they love the Bible, but then they spend more time planning activities and shelve the Bible because they believe it is boring (whole other issue to blog about). This approach is not Biblical. Churches are commissioned to use the Bible to train people. The Church should be full of opportunities for all ages and all sorts of people to be taught God’s Word. People should frequently be encouraged to be in the Word of God daily.
Yes, at times God’s Word will cut deep into our heart, convict us to repent and pursue God. And yes, some people will not like that, and they will leave the Church because they want their ears itched. (2 Timothy 4:3 – “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,”) But we must accept that, because Church is not about becoming another Rotary Club (no offense to Rotary). The Church is to be a place where the soldiers of Christ are equipped to engage in the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in the midst of.
It is time for Churches to stop producing incompetent congregations and start teaching God’s Word. Let Churches be faithful with the sheep that gather on Sundays. Let us trust God’s Word and train our people for the war that is being waged in our families, schools, communities, and World. Sending out our people ill equipped for battle is not love; it is suicide. Become a church that focuses on feeding the sheep, and stop worrying about entertaining them.