I’m A Missionary In My Own Church

Q. I have come to see that the Church (all believers – past and present) has the responsibility foremost to glorify God and represent Him to this world in which we live. The church (the local assembly of believers) is for believers to encourage and build-up each other, not necessarily an evangelistic tool. The church of which I am a member seems to weigh heavily on the church “reaching the neighborhood” but weak on building up the saints. I feel such resistance to this push and am thus conflicted by not supporting the “push.” Do you have any insight on the roles (or are there even 2 different roles)? My husband and I have considered leaving, but feel like this is our “mission field.”

A. It sounds like you’re a member of an “emerging church” congregation. I’ll admit that I’m not a great fan of that movement, partly for the reasons you mention.

But to answer your question, I believe the role of the church is three fold. The first is to worship the Lord, the second is to study His word and third is to facilitate fellowship among believers, in other words to build a community of faith. Anything beyond that is a distraction from its purpose. When these three are in balance, true seekers will naturally be attracted. But when any one of them receives too much emphasis at the expense of the others, the whole body suffers.

In an effort to attract a larger following, some churches have distorted fellowship into entertainment, while neglecting worship and Bible study. They often wind up with a bigger congregation, but the spiritual condition of the group can suffer in the process, as will their ability to weather the gathering storm.

Over 20 years ago as a new believer I was in a situation similar to yours in a denominational church, seeing myself as a missionary, as you do. I fought and fought to get more real Bible Study into the curriculum, and a number of others were saved in the process. But in one of a hand full of times when I’ve heard the audible Voice of the Lord, I finally received clear instructions to leave.

I would counsel you to support your pastor where ever you can. Quietly but sincerely voice your objections to him privately, and listen for the voice of the Lord.

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