How Do You Rate the Functions of the Church?

Our houses of worship.

Which of These Church Functions is the Most Important to You as a Churchgoer?

Bible Study
Missions and Outreach
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Total votes : 8

How Do You Rate the Functions of the Church?

Postby scrivener » Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:12 pm

A friend and I have spent a lot of time in recent years breaking down the purpose of the church to these four basic functions:
  1. Worship
  2. Fellowship
  3. Bible Study
  4. Missions and Outreach

Do you think we're missing anything? Which of these do you think is the most important for the believing churchgoer? In addition to voting for your first choice, would you please post a comment ranking the rest of them in your preferred order?

Mine looks like this:
  1. Bible Study
  2. Missions and Outreach
  3. Fellowship
  4. Worship
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
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Postby GypsyLika » Thu Sep 29, 2005 7:28 pm

Bilbe Study
Mission & Outreach

~Lika 8)
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Postby Foxen » Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:37 am

Hmm, great question Scrivener.

This was a hard question to answer, mainly because I couldn't stick with only the four. Hehe.

There are SO many functions and possible purposes to a church that I am currently perplexed and am in exploration of the role of the church in society, culture, and history.

Basic things...

Discipleship and depth in explore who oneself the context of culture, fellowship and church, society, creation, and in God, and to develop and bloom in a healthily joyful being in Christ exploring and experiencing God in the various facets of life. Too often, we're forced fed and bred to be these elitist perfect modern western (culturally white) beings...which I think has more to do with one particular culture and how they interpret the application of the Bible. I want to see churches get beyond the fluff, and go past "seeker-sensitive" how much depth is there if the church is SO seeker-sensitive?

The church, I think, should be a leader in the community...a center for the community and to not only reach out, but to open its doors and do good in the community. I would love to see the church as a valuable resource to the community it's in...not as a vexing conversion hungry cult-like entity. As a resource, I would love to see a more passive way of reaching out to the neighborhood by being of use to the community (with no strings attached...if folks should up without wanting to accept'd like to see after school activities for the neighborhood kids, Thursday afternoon crafts and stuff with the grannies, seminars for immigrant families, more art...a lot more art, and then some. Something like a community center, but more accessible. And ultimately, it'll lead to my view above...that the activities at this church open to the public would help people realize who they are in the context of God and the community, and their role there-in.

To answer the rank question...

I guess worship/Bible study is kinda the equivalent to discipleship/experiencing and understanding God, while outreach/service/evangelism would be missions/outreach? Fellowship is To me, they are all equally vital to a church. Perhaps at different stages in the development and growth of the church the priorities may be different, but after stablization, I think all our equally vital.
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Postby partyofsix » Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:49 pm

I don't know which one of these four is the most important to the churchgoer, but I believe that worship is the most important function of the church. Not only do I believe that it is the most important function of the church, I believe that worship is a defining characteristic of the church, not in a sense of "contemporary" worship defining a "contemporary" church, or "traditional" defining a traditional church, though this does happen. When I state that worship defines a church, I mean that the worship of God is one of the crucial elements that make the church the church. Worship is perhaps the only thing the church does that no other organization does. I include under the Church umbrella, Para-church organizations as well.

There are many organizations that do what we call, missions and outreach. There are groups that engage in the study of scripture for spiritual as well as secular purposes. Discipleship is prevalent in the many "self-help" movements. We can find fellowship outside of the church. Without worship, the church becomes just another organization, perhaps an important one, one that does good works and makes a difference in the lives of others.

I believe the Church probably needs a better understanding of worship. Often, our conversations around worship leans toward the, "What do I get out of it," or the, "What's in it for me." At the risk of sounding trite, I will say that worship is not about what we get out of it, but what we put into it. The word liturgy, in describing a particular order of service (even those traditions without a set liturgy have a liturgy of some sort), means service. Worship is the work of the church--it is the service of a people of God in Christ. In this sense, missions is worship, Christian fellowship is Christian worship, discipleship is worship. Worship is not just what takes place on a Sunday morning, though when we speak of worship in our churches, it is easy to limit it to the actual worship service.

So let's look at what we call worship, the Sunday morning event. I'm not sure if the church does a very good job in educating its people about its practices of worship. A typical, "traditional" order of service might include the following elements: Call to Worship, Invocation, a greeting or passing of the peace, Scripture reading, offering, an invitation. I didn't grow up in any church tradition, so maybe I missed the explanation of these elements of worship, and it wasn't until many years after I started going to church that I had any understanding of these elements and their function in worship.

In the many churches I attended and even served in, the Call to Worship was the equivalent of the first hymn, usually an upbeat one. What it was not, was an actual calling of the people of God to worship God. The invocation was just a fancy name for the first prayer. No one told me, and I didn't know that the invocation is an invoking of the presence of God. The greeting or the passing of the peace was just a time to say "hi", or catch up on events in the community, and not a greeting of each other in the name of Christ. The invitation: taking the preacher by the hand, becoming a Christian, joining the church--rarely was it an invitation to join in the work of God in creation--to extend the worshipping community outside the walls of the church.
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Postby Mokihana » Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:26 pm

The church that I attend has awesome worship. We're pretty free about it, too. Several people bring flags and dance/flag during worship, my good friend brings her tambourine and plays it, people dance in the back... worship is a very personal thing to all of us. We have the freedom to sit or stand however we want. I love that we're rarely told, "Please be seated", "everyone please rise", etc, during worship. Our worship teams are awesome.

We have good Bible teaching, too. People give their testimonies sometimes, or share something that's on their heart. Sometimes we're all so caught up in worship that there's no teaching at all, the leaders just following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

We're encouraged to be part of a small group where we can get to know others on a more intimate basis. Sometimes the small groups get together and potluck together.

Every week, a potluck is part of our church time. Breaking bread together is the goal, and it really adds to the time available for fellowship.

Our church is very small, only about 100 peeps. We started out as a group that split of from a pretty large church when we saw a longstanding problem with the pastor's credibility and refusal to look at other ways of doing things. We rent church space from another church and meet on Sunday nights beginning at 5 p.m.

The emphasis is on becoming transparent, being part of church body that encourages taking off the masks that so many of us are used to wearing at church, i.e., "How are you?" "I'm fine, thanks".

We have a good outreach to the community as well.

We're far from perfect, but this is a good community for us.

It was really interesting; I used to attend a church that started out as specifically meeting the needs of Hawaiians on the mainland in our area. But attendance was very low (maybe 15 peeps) and has not grown, despite the fact that the pastor, from O`ahu has a fantastic shepherd's heart and amazing testimony. But we just couldn't get locals involved more than just the handful of regulars.

'Nuff babbling....
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