The gathering together of people to fellowship in the name of Jesus Christ can, in its form, be called a church. A church is not a building, but rather the name of the group of people who come together as one usually within the bounds of a building. A church is also more than just one group of people, but rather can be used to describe all believers who choose to fellowship in the name of Jesus Christ. Overall, the term “church” will be used in the context of both the local congregation, as well as the universal congregation of all Christians.
Paul speaks of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, in which he expresses how all who believe in Jesus are apart of the single unified body of Christ. This is a representation of the church, or how the church is supposed to be, all different parts working together for one goal, which is to spread the love of Christ and to evangelize to all mankind. The church members all work together for the good of Christianity throughout all the nations, using there various talents and resources to educate those around them of Jesus’ teachings, the problem of sin, and the plan of salvation.
Locally the function of the church should be to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, build up the current believers of the area, provide help and support according to the needs of the surrounding community, baptize new believers into the faith, and to preach and teach to Word of God.
Spreading the good news of Jesus Christ is fulfilling our duty to evangelize and to make new disciples, as commanded in the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 which states: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
Building up and maintaining the current congregation of the local church is vital to keeping those in the faith strong and dedicated. Unfortunately there are times in life when Christians get too comfortable or begin to doubt when things get tough in life. It is the job of the church, the people united together in Christ, to recognize the struggles and questions that their fellow church members might be going through. Building up struggling or questioning Christians with love, support, and prayer is the job of the church people. The key to this strength and support is continued fellowship and care for those included in the body of Christ.
Along with evangelism to the outside community who is not involved with the church body, it is also the church’s job to recognize the needs of the outsiders. The church cannot function properly when it is simply focused on the inside and nothing else. Jesus taught many times the importance of having a humble servant-like attitude and mindset towards others. The needs of the church are important, but when it comes to the lost, helping them in their times of need will really show and spread the love of Christ.
One of the more obvious and visible things a church must do locally is preach and teach the Word of God and baptize new believers into the faith. In today’s culture this might be the only function of many churches out there in America, but this really should only be one aspect of the body. Preaching and teaching the Word not only helps build up the current Christians with knowledge and insight on the Word of God, it also provides for the Holy Spirit to work and to provide general revelation to believers in Christ. Preaching and teaching may also work to break down the barrier of sin to the outside world, possibly moving outsiders to making decisions to follow Jesus. Upon a decision to become Christian, it is then the churches job to provide baptism and continued support during the life of a Christian. Functionally many churches have this aspect down, but other qualities that a local church must have are just as equally important.
Universally and around the world the church must perform several duties which include: spreading the good news of Christ throughout all nations, providing financial support to other church bodies, missionaries, and missions, and breaking down the barriers of race, language, and denomination to create unity amongst all believers in Jesus Christ.
Christianity is not the most popular religion in all areas of the world, therefore according to the Great Commission, as mentioned earlier, all Christians, the body of Christ as a whole, must do their job to help spread the Word of God to all areas of the globe. Since many churches are unable to send out people on their own, using all the resources possible to aid in the evangelism of the world, such as financially should be attempted.
As the body of Christ, we are to use any resource that we have, to come together for the one goal of spreading Christ to the entire world. Missionaries and their missions are simply an extension of the local church body, usually represented by a number of local churches, combining to show the universal church of Christ in one united body.
The body of Christ’s resources should also be spread among other local bodies which can uses the funds and resources that they have attained and help each other out in times of need. A local church should never have to close its doors due to lack of funds, for the duties of the body of Christ is to help maintain and sustain each other.
Finally, the universal church is represented by all nations, all languages, without denomination. The goal is to break down the barriers of separation to get back to what Jesus wanted for the body of Christ: unity. The body of Christ united together to spread throughout the globe is the key goal and aspiration of all who believe in Jesus. One who understands the great gift of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross cannot keep this indescribable gift to themselves. Though we are commanded to spread the news of Jesus, the true motivation of the church to spread Jesus’ name comes from the gratitude and love that overflows from all believers when they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The church as the body of Christ should locally and universally function to spread the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world, build up the current believers of the area, provide help and support according to the needs of the surrounding community, baptize new believers into the faith, to preach and teach to Word of God, spreading the good news of Christ throughout all nations, providing financial support to other church bodies, missionaries, and missions, and breaking down the all to create unity amongst all believers in Jesus Christ.