If you search through the world your whole life, you will never find an organization like the local church. The local church is utterly unique and wholly unmatched when it follows the Biblical model. But what sets the church apart from humanitarian work or local clubs across the globe? How is the church different from any other man-made community of people? Why do Christians claim it as powerful and world-changing?
These are all questions I will dive into and answer in this entry.
How & Why The Local Church is Powerful: The Local Church is powerful for many reasons, but the key element, which sets apart and empowers the church, is that it was formed by God and not by human invention.
To better further understand the power of the local church we need to understand its purpose in the world.
The Purpose of the Local Church
The central purpose of the local church is to bring praise and glory to God’s name; and this is done in three specific ways: evangelism, discipleship, and worship. Everything we do in the church stems from these three things, whether it’s child care, making and serving coffee, doing local outreach, or preaching from the pulpit.
Every day they [believers] continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.– Acts 2:46-47
In the old testament, Israel was made to be the light to the world and to be a witness of the glory and power of God. However, since Jesus’ death and resurrection, it is now the gift of the Church to be the display of the glory and power of the Lord.
This light and power is displayed through the love of God, how beautifully and mightily He loves us, how we love one another well because of the fellowship we have with God, and how our lives and other’s lives are transformed, etc. the list goes on and on.
In short, the purpose of the church is to glorify God.
How the Power of the Local Church is Displayed
Now that we have a basic understanding of the local church, we can jump into how the church is powerful and what that actually means and looks like.
Keep in mind that it would take a book to cover the complexities and elements of the church, not that it is complicated, rather it is enormous and multifaceted and deep, therefore this blog is only able to cover the basics.
Nothing on earth has greater potential to change lives and carry out His kingdom work in your community, than your local church. There’s nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. No other organization on earth is like the church. Nothing even comes close.– Bill Hybels
Taking a look at the following ways the Church displays its power will help us to understand just how powerful and amazing the church is.
The Church’s Power in Families and Communities
The local church is the hands, feet, and body of God, it displays God’s heart and does what He wills and has commanded, as such, it cannot be contained in a building with just a few members. Instead, the church is outward and always reaching out to others. Because the church reaches out, it touches families and communities and utterly transforms them for the Lord.
I have seen time and time and time again, testimony after testimony, families who were broken and disunified become whole again because they found God and found fellowship in the church. Because we were created by God for community and fellowship, we are stretched and grown when we are around other believers who are both at the same place in their walk or years ahead, either way, we get sharpened and encouraged. And this bleeds into communities––healthy families who are focused on God transform communities, which then transforms societies…
The Church’s Power in Society
Society and social structure are such a fascinating subject, and when you look from one society to the next, you will not always find the same things.
America, for example, was founded on Christian principles and if you grew up in the US, you may not understand just how incredibly blessed and different our nation is compared to nations who were formed without God.
It took me coming to a missions college to understand that one, Biblical principles are pouring our of America’s original foundations, and two, that our nation, though not superior, is unlike any other nation.
All of this to say, God uses the church to shape culture and society, where the church becomes unhealthy and corrupt, then we lose that Godly influence and vice versa.
The Church’s Power Across the Globe
The church is ultimately a catalyst. It starts with a single person, or a single mustard seed, and touches the furthest reaches of the world––moving mountains.
And Jesus came 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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.Matthew 28:18-20
Just as the church changes our local community, it utterly changes the world. When you become a Christian, you don’t become a “lone survivor,” holding on and making it by through the skin of your teeth. Instead, you become part of a global body of Christ.
One of my favorite things about the church is how connected it is, a church in a small suburban town can have close ties with a small church in Kenya or Indonesia or wherever else across the world. The church is not an American concept but a God concept, therefore, it is meant for the entire world.
What Sets the Church Apart
The first thing to consider is that the church is an incredible, living and moving organism, that cannot be contained or called outdated, it is always relevant in every day, age, and culture. The church has been established for more than 2000 years and even though it has faced much persecution and hatred it has not been diminished in the slightest. In all actuality, the church has exploded, on record, there are over 37 million churches in the world today; this is not including the ones that are not recorded across the globe.
Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”Acts 5:38-39 (NIV)
Perhaps the greatest aspect of the church that sets it apart from all humanitarian work and organizations intended to help the world is found in its aim to transform and meet the needs of the soul.
The church, whether overseas or doing local outreach, recognizes that the problem with the world is our fallen nature, and that fallen nature must be changed by God alone. When the spiritual needs are met, the heart is transformed and begins to desire the things of God, and God’s desire is to see the world in its original and perfect condition.
In short, the church is powerful because it does not come together for the sake of coming together, but is unified by Christ who is the one that enables us to love extraordinarily and to change the world for His name.