What are the most important aspects to the Church of Christ? What are those things which we believe should be “Front and Center”. This phrase means to have “the most prominent position”. It means to be at the forefront. There are some things in the assembly that are more important than others.
Many Churches of Christ/Christian Churches, lose sight of the things that should be most prominent. There are churches more interested in entertainment than in evangelism. Many are more interested in an upbeat song service than a sermon with depth. Other churches put emphasis on buildings, programs and many other things that are never “front and center” in the Scriptures.
I have always taught that there are two main purposes in the church. No, you don’t have to write me a large check and go through a forty day program to tell you the purpose of the church. I can summarize it within the two columns of this newsletter!
Everything the church does, should fall into one of the following two categories. My prayer for the church is that the church would bring these two aspects back to FRONT and CENTER!
The first one is evangelism. Jesus commissioned us to “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” (Matthew 28:19-20). And again Jesus told His disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).
The church is to preach the Gospel! We are to try to convert the lost (notice I did not use the popular term “unchurched” which is not found in the New Testament—I personally want to convert both the “unchurched” and the “churched” if they are outside of Christ). The church does this by sharing their faith and by the teaching and preaching the truth.
The second purpose of the church that needs to be brought back to front and center is building the church up. The Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus that Jesus had given leadership gifts to the church. He then went on and told the church what these gifts were for. The Apostle writes, He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Notice the purpose of leadership is to equip the saints (that is the church) for works of service and build up the body of Christ. Notice it is NOT the role of leadership to do all the work in the assembly. No, rather, it is the role of leadership (evangelists and pastor/teachers—or elders) to equip the church for the work of service!
Wouldn’t it be great if every member at South Side brought these two purposes back to front and center—and yes, it takes every member?
In closing let me lists some other things that should be front and center in the church:
The Apostles’ Doctrine—what happened to a good Gospel sermon? I love good Christian music with good messages, but replacing the preaching of the Gospel with a song service is not taught in Scriptures!
Christian fellowship—the Biblical word fellowship has to do with participation and sharing. This not only involves a fellowship dinner, but giving of an offering—participating in the Gospel!
The Lord’s Supper—literally needs to be brought front and center! Many churches have placed the Lord’s Supper somewhere other than a prominent place in the assembly!
Prayers—The church needs to be known as a house of prayer.
If you didn’t notice—I believe we need to put front and center what the early church put front and center! Luke records it this way: They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42).
Alright church—FRONT and CENTER!