Why do we exist?
A church consultant surveyed members of nearly a thousand churches asking the question: "Why does the church exist?" Of the members surveyed, 89 percent said, "The church's purpose is to take care of my family's and my needs." For many, the role of the pastor is simply to keep the sheep that are already in the "pen" happy and not lose too many of them. Only 11 percent said, "The purpose of the church is to win the world for Jesus Christ."
The early church knew why they existed. And they were unified about that purpose. "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul . . . And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them" (Acts 4: 32, 33). Jesus entrusted his ministry in the hands of the apostles to continue proclaiming the gospel that belongs to one God in one faith being together in oneness. They were from different backgrounds, and they had different ways of approaching the ministry but to fulfill one Great Commission to community around. They had one leader - Jesus, one purpose - to communicate the gospel to the multitudes. These early disciples did more for the spread of Christianity than any generation of followers since. What was the secret?
All the believers were unified in one Spirit. To be one in heart and mind is to be unified in every fiber of their being. They were family in a relationship. They shared a common spiritual birth - they were born again into the family of God. They shared their lives and their possessions with one another. As they have received freely all the gifts from God, they were freely sharing it with others. Chuck Swindoll wrote, "Churches need to be less like national shrines and more like bars …. less like untouchable cathedrals and more like well-used hospitals, places to bleed in rather than monuments to look at . . . places where you can take your mask off and let your hair down... place where you can have your wounds dressed." They were partners in reaching the world for Christ. They linked arms not just for their convenience and comfort but to reach out to those not yet linked up with them.
Their purpose was deeply rooted in Jesus and hence the ministry of God was widely branched to the community. This can happen only when we cooperate with one another. This can happen only when we know the importance of salvation we have received. This can happen only when we cherish the precious gift of grace we have received. Until we understand our foundation and purpose, we will have no idea of why church exists.
God Bless, Amutha
rev. dr amutha devaraj