- Worship: Experience With God.
The ultimate, overarching purpose of the gathered church is to worship God. Most important of all, church gives us a special place to stoop down and render religious homage, respect, awe, and reverence to the God Who is. The Greek word for worship literally means "to kiss, like a dog licking its master's hand." I've heard it said that the only thing that has more germs than a public telephone is a dog's tongue. How gracious of our God to let such sinners as us "lick His hand." Worship is an experience with God.
- Fellowship: Encouragement From God.
Times come when we need spiritual, prayerful, emotional, and social support that can only come from a group committed to caring for and loving others. We cannot love people unless we are connected to them in some way. The church gives us a larger family of which we can be part. Who besides the gathered church? God uses other believers to encourage each other. Fellowship is encouragement from God.
- Growth: Knowledge Of God.
The church is a place to learn about God. The preaching and teaching of God's Word -- what it says, its meaning, its message, and how it applies -- are critical elements in the life of a Christian. Growth is acquiring a knowledge of God.
- Service: Work For God.
Every Christian is called, and privileged, to serve God through personal ministry or service (see Ephesians 2:10). The gathered church is the principle outlet for discerning your spiritual gifts, becoming equipped to serve, and finding an outlet to serve as part of the body of Christ and to the broken, hurting world. Service is doing work for God.
- Accountability: Persevere In God.
Howard Ball frequently said, "The Christian life is not difficult. It's impossible." No Christian ever led a vibrant, obedient life on their own. Without the help of a few friends to keep us on track we, too, like sheep will go astray. A major purpose of the church is to provide a framework for accountability. Besides formal church discipline, successful churches link people together in smaller groups where there is increased visibility. Visibility increases accountability. Accountability is to persevere in God.
We gather for the singular reason that the Bible tells us to: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).
See you there!
Until every church disciples every man...
Patrick Morley, PhD Executive Chairman, Man in the Mirror