Summary: Shares how we discovered our purpose as a church.
“The Purpose of Abundant Life Church”
April 29, 2007
For the last six months many of us have studied, in-depth, Rick Warrens “Purpose Driven Church”. I have tremendous respect for Rick and believe him to be a wise man of God. He has a unique way of simplifying and communicating the process of Church functions. For instance, I like how he communicates who we are to minister to. He calls it our ‘Target’ and puts it visually in the form of a bull’s eye target. Starting from the outside, the largest group is the community. The community is all the unchurched in our area who have never been to our church. The next largest group is the crowd, which represent those who are in church on any given Sunday, but don’t have much involvement other than coming on Sunday morning. They may or may not have a personal relationship with Christ.
The next group, a little bit smaller, is the congregation or the Church family. They are the regular attenders and have professed a faith in Jesus. They are believers and love the church, joined the church. They are at the potlucks and most church functions – but they just come. They belong - but aren’t very involved. They show up to worship – but don’t do much more.
A small group of people make up the Committed. Those are the ones who are deeply committed to Christ and the church and express it by tithing regularly, having a daily prayer time and bible reading time, and are committed to growing personally by being involved with a regular small group, like a Sunday school class or a home bible study class.
The smallest group is the core. They are the board members and teachers and the core group that is the heart of the church.
I like how the different groups are broken down. It’s not “us and them” or “Christians and believers” or “Sinners and Saints”. That’s a little to general. It’s important to realize how people are broken down into groups because you minister to them differently. You want to evangelize the community. You want to Exalt God or help the Crowd to worship God. The crowd can be involved in worship even if they don’t have a deep level of commitment.
The Church family needs Encouragement. After a week of spiritual battle – the congregation needs fellowship. Those committed ones need edifying or instructing in how to use their gifts and how to become involved in ministry. The core group are those already ministering. They are mature enough, advanced enough spiritually, to be in ministry to others and our job is to Equip them so they can effectively minister.
I don’t know if that blesses you – but it really blesses me to intellectualize and categorize the church in that way. It helps to know where to ‘go from here’ with certain people and groups.
After our study of the Purpose Driven Church, we realized that we needed to rewrite our Purpose for our church. We’d done that many years ago – but it wasn’t fresh and it wasn’t personal. So for the last couple of weeks we have been thinking about it, talking about it, working on it – and last Wednesday night we came up with a pretty good statement. Different individuals contributed some purpose statements that they came up with and I broke the group into smaller groups that hashed over the problem and came up with some thoughts. We then came together, considered what each one thought, pooled those thoughts, and took a little of something from each one. Pastor Bob came up with the key. He said, “Whatever we come up with, Christ needs to be central.”
So here’s what we did. We used the acrostic “CHRIST” in our purpose statement. Our statement is: “The purpose of the Mount Shasta Abundant Life Church of the Nazarene is to bring CHRIST to the community.”
Isn’t that simple and easy to remember? I really like it. It says it all. Now let’s look at the acrostic “CHRIST”.
C – Church Purpose. The other five letters stand for what our purpose as a church is.
H – Help others come to Christ. Jesus said,
“… go and make disciples…” Matt 28:19 (Living)
Some other words for it are “Evangelism” and “Mission” and “Outreach” but all those words are for the same thing. We are to help others to come to Christ. We need to go into the community to the unchurched and help them come to Jesus. That needs to be one part of our purpose.
Another part of our purpose is R – rejoice in worship. Anyone who comes to our church, we want to help them worship God. Another name for that is to Exalt God or Magnify God. But part of our purpose is to help people experience worship of God. The bible says,