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Nature and Mission of the Church

My understanding of the nature and mission of the church in the light of God’s call and purpose is that the church is dependent on and defined by how well it relates with God. Since God is a mystery but and known to us, the church should therefore be never defined by the descriptions we make but rather be referred to as being a secure home. In my own view, the church should be seen in terms of the Holy Spirit and the light of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His life for it. The unity of the church depends on many factors like its ability to turn to the Light, its response to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and, finally, its submission to the power of light which sanctifies it1. It is therefore the responsibility of every church member to live in the Light and help others who are close to them to do so.

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God had a purpose in creating man; he wanted to be a father to the man he had created. This is the same purpose that God has today for mankind as found in Ephesians 1:4. After the fall of man, there was loss of fellowship between man and God. God did not intent man to fall, but in His creation, He has provided a plan of redemption. This was achieved by the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Jesus left behind the work of redemption in the hands of His disciples.

In my view, the church comprises of people who have been called from the world to live and fellowship with God forever. Godly people are to worship and obey God in everything according to the Holy Scriptures2. It is by God’s righteousness and love, that His grace can be manifested. The purpose of Jesus’ on Earth was to establish His church on the Rock according to the scriptures. In the Old Testament, the church was referred to as ecclesia which meant a group of God’s people. The mission of Jesus was to back the lost to the kingdom of His Father and take care of them3.

The nature of the church is therefore, a group of people who have been called and set apart by God, to fulfill his will through Christ. The Church is therefore not our own nor its own but comprises of God’s people from all nations. The church was, is and will always remain as the new creation of our God in this world. It is this creation that will realize and point its initial intent of God’s original creation4. Through this understanding of the nature of the Church, it can be viewed as a society which, under the power and direction of the mighty Holy Spirit, is able to empower, guide, direct and inspire its members in achieving the will of God. The church is only effective only if it obeys God. By obedience, it has the ability to lead its members into new a new knowledge of its savior.

According to the Jews, the Messiah was supposed to come and build a Temple where God could dwell among His people. The Kingdom of the Lord is therefore more evident in the Church where Jesus was supposed to gather God’s people so that they can be visible to God. Jesus proclamation that the Church will gain victory over the gates of Hades meant that the powers of Satan and his demonic acts were non prevalent on the Church which was to be established on the rock 4.

The nature and mission of the church is to bind and loose those held captive by demonic forces. In essence, its mission is the continuation of the work of Christ. We can understand the mission by looking at the words of Jesus. Jesus said His work was to heal, and deliver the oppressed. In Mathew Chapter 16, the church should be able to overcome the works of Satan and be able to liberate God’s people from the powers of the demon and the evil spirits. The ethical discernment of the church also gives it responsibility in discerning the right from the wrong and can thus be viewed as a custodian of morality. It is therefore true that Jesus build the church on the rock so that the demonic powers in this contemporary world could be bound and the people of God be liberated from their spheres of influence. The church stands as a place for the deliverance of people held captive by the devil.

The church is as a society of ethical discernment whose responsibilities are to bind and loose its people in the world. It calls on the church to either bind or loose a sinner by confronting him or her about the sin committed and later leading the sinner to repent of his/ her sin. In cases where repentance cannot happen, then the church is given the responsibility to discipline its members. Only Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit are given the mandate to participate in the ethical discernment of differentiating the right from the wrong, calling the sinners towards forgiveness and in cases where forgiveness is impossible, discipline the church members 5.

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The church, serves as a Kingdom center where ethical discernment can be performed. The church, therefore, has a responsibility of helping people to lead holy lives. God’s desire for His people is that they may know Him and worship Him in truth and by loving one another. To fulfill this aim, God sent the Messiah to this world so that he can renew God’s call for his people through the building of the church on the rock where God’s people can be freed from the powers of the demon and be subjected towards faithful living.

In II Corinthians 6:16, the bible says that Jesus was not only to renew the call of God towards his people but also to commission his disciples towards the proclamation of the word of God to all the world and build the church in the midst of all people in the world. It is surprising that the New Testament has no theological meaning to define the church. Instead, the Church is defined through images by writers of the New Testament. The reality of this is that God’s presence was magnified through images which meant that as much as God was known, he was also mysterious.

There are two ways that we can employ to unravel the nature of the church. First, we have to understand the theology of writers in the New Testament, like for instance Peter, Paul and Mathew which can be used to determine which images they used to refer to the church. Paul depiction of the church is not the same as Peter’s. Paul considers the church as a body while peter sees it as a holy nation 6. The other way of understanding the different images is by identifying similarity of themes of different writers. These approaches are crucial towards the development of a fully comprehensive theology of the church as depicted in the New Testament 7.

It is therefore important that we understand that we are part of Messiah’s people and that we are not alone or our own, but part of God’s people. The church can never be a membership organization like a club where people make decisions to join it but it is people hood which the Lord Almighty God creates. In order for the church to achieve its mission of proclaiming the word of God throughout the world, it must adhere to the word of God. This means, there is need for the church to live in a different way than the nations because the church is the people of God bound by a covenant. For the church to perform its binding and losing duties, it must discern as a different community which follows a different way of life, as found in the holy bible.


  1. Joseph C Aldrich, Lifestyle Evangelism. (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 2000), 34
  2. Aldrich, Joseph Lifestyle Evangelism, 2000, 36
  3. Dan, Bauman All Originality Makes a Dull Church, (Santa Ana, CA: Vision House Publishers, 2001).
  4. Bauman,. All Originality Makes a Dull Church, 2001, 58
  5. Charles Chaney. Design for Church Growth. (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 2005), 23
  6. Leonard, Bill. The Nature of the Church. (New York, NY: Academic Books, 2003), 66
  7. Bill. The Nature of the Church, 2003, 66


Aldrich, Joseph C. Lifestyle Evangelism. Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 2000.

Bauman, Dan. All Originality Makes a Dull Church. Santa Ana, CA: Vision House Publishers, 2001.

Bill, Leonard. The Nature of the Church. New York, NY: Academic Books, 2003.

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Chaney, Charles. Design for Church Growth. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 2005.

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