Five Purposes of the Church

A Purpose-Driven church is committed to fulfilling all five tasks that Christ ordained for His church to accomplish.

Purpose #1: Go and make disciples
This purpose we call Evangelism.  The church exists to communicate God’s Word. We are ambassadors for Christ, and our mission is to evangelize the world.  The word go in the Great Commission is a present participle in the Greek text.  It should read “as you are going.” It is every Christian’s responsibility to share the Good News wherever we go.  We are to tell the whole world of Christ’s coming, his death on the cross, his resurrection, and his promise to return.  Someday each of us will give an account to God regarding how seriously we took this responsibility. 

Purpose #2: Love the Lord with all your heart
The word that describes this purpose is Worship.  The church exists to worship God.  How do we love God with all our heart?  How do we love God with all our heart?  By worshipping Him!  It doesn’t matter if we’re by ourselves, with a small group, or with 100,000 people.  When we express our love to God, we’re worshipping.

Purpose #3: Baptizing them
In the Greek text of the Great Commission there are three participle verbs: going, baptizing, and teaching.  Each of these is a part of the command to “make disciples.” Going, baptizing, and teaching are the essential elements of the disciplemaking process.  At first glance you might wonder why the Great Commission gives the same prominence to the simple act of baptism as it does to the great tasks of evangelism and edification.  Obviously, Jesus did not mention it by accident.  Why is baptism so important to warrant inclusion in Christ’s Great Commission? I believe it is because it symbolizes one of the purposes of the church: Fellowship - identification with the body of Christ.

Purpose #4: Teaching them to obey
The word we commonly use to refer to this purpose is Discipleship.  The church exists to edify, or educate, God’s people.  Discipleship is the process of helping people become more like Christ in their thoughts, feelings, and actions.  This process begins when a person is born again and continues throughout the rest of his life.  Colossians 1:28 (NCV) says, “We continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to reach everyone, in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature person in Christ”.

Purpose #5: Love your neighbor as yourself
The word we use to describe this purpose is Ministry. The church exists to minister to people. Ministry is demonstrating God’s love to others by meeting their needs and healing their hurts in the name of Jesus. Each time you reach out in love to others you are ministering to them.  The church is to minister to all kinds of needs: spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical.  Jesus said that even a cup of cold water given in his name was considered as ministry and would not go unrewarded.  The church is to “… equip the saints for the work of ministry” Eph. 4:12 NRSV.