Just the announcement of this new blog series, about the purpose of the church, triggered quite some views and responses. A great encouragement for me and at the same time a sign that I am not the only one who is interested in this subject.
For starters, I want to quote the basic scripture I will be using in my reflection on this topic in a few different translations, so that we will all get an idea (regardless of our denominational or theological background) of what the Bible says about the purpose of the church, also called the body of Christ (see also 1 Corinthians 12:27). That scripture is: Ephesians 4:11-13.
NIV (New International Version)
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
NKJV (New King James Version)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
GNT (Good News Translation)
It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature.
Just reading these verses a few times brings about an idea of God's intention with the church on earth, don't you agree?