In my continued study of what the church is I’ve found that “church” is more about BEING than DOING. What i’ve been thnking about is that if I’m looking at the church and first asking “what is it doing?” I’m going to come up with a rather obscure point of view. For example, if I think of the church as a building, the success of the church is enlarging the building. My part is giving money or raising funds so that the church can complete it’s mission. If I see church as a fortress, the success is measured by it’s ability to maintain truth. My role becomes someone who defends the truth (sometimes to the detriment of love). If I think the church is a museum, its purpose is to showcase the past and I’m am alwasy going to live there and not be relevant to the now, or the future. If I think the church is a theatre, it’s purpose is to put on a show, and my mission is to entertain. But rightly defining what the church is, will give you the nswer to what the mission of the church is, and why you should be part of that mission.

1 Peter 2:9-10 tells us what the church is: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” [see also Exodus 19:6]

In the first part of verse 9 Peter describes our Spiritual Idenity in four metaphors: 

  • chosen generation – Amos 3:2; Isaiah 43:21; Deut 7:6
  • royal priesthood – we have direct access to God & are completely given to the work of God 1 Peter 4:10-11
  • holy nation – consecrated to God. Set apart TO God. Supposed to be different. Exodus 19:6; Leviticus 11:44 
  • His own special people – singular “people”. It is not Israel AND the church as two seperate chosen people. We are all one people of faith. The term is, literally, being owned by God. Deut 4:20; 1 Peter 1:18

In the last part of verse 9 Peter describes our Supreme Mission:

  • “that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”
    •  the word “proclaim” means to publish; to make widely known by declaring;
    • the word “praises” means excellence.
    • He has not called us to whisper or mumble!
    • the word “into [his marvelous light]” is not about locality. It is literally to “participate in”
  • “his marvelous light”
    • the word light could also be translated “fire” – marvellous light – his presence
  • a rough translation of this portion of the verse could be: “that you may publish aloud how excellent God is to allow you to participate in this presence”

Because church is more about BEING than DOING, I’ve been able to narrow it down to 10 things that the church is about: 


  1. Community (a people in relationship – to God and each other)
  2. Regeneration (a people in renewal)
  3. Confession (a people in submission to Jesus Christ as Lord)
  4. Obedience (a people into the Bible)
  5. Organized (a people in & under leadership)
  6. Gathered (a people meeting regularly for preaching & worship)
  7. Observing (a people sharing in baptism & communion)
  8. Unified  (a people in Oneness by the Spirit)
  9. Disciplined (a people in progress)
  10. Scattered (a people in mission)

how far off am I?


One thought on “What is the Church?

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