The Meaning of Life: To Establish the Local Church, Part II

We’re investigating the meaning of life and the question: Why are we here? Last time we showed how Paul implemented the Great Commission—by preaching the gospel, gathering believers into churches, establishing believers in sound doctrine, appointing leaders and equipping them, and repeating the process. This is called the Pauline Cycle. Not only is it the pattern we should follow for missions, it’s the life cycle of all healthy churches.

But how do we, as individuals, engage with this? We aren’t all called to go to some foreign country to preach the gospel. This post will examine that question.

  1. Outreach. One thing everyone can do is to reach out to those around us who don’t know the gospel. We all have friends, neighbors and even family who don’t know Christ. We can speak about how we came to learn of Jesus—our personal story. We can bring the conversation around to our involvement with our local churches, which might lead to questions about our faith. Before we do this, we must be careful that we are living lives that reflect the character of Jesus and showing him through us.
  2. Invitation. We can ask our friends and neighbors to church or to church events. Some might refuse, but if you ask often enough, someday they might say yes. This assumes the local church is a welcoming place for unbelievers, seekers, and the unchurched.
  3. Spiritual education. Believers need to be firmly grounded in the faith. They need to understand the whole counsel of God. They need systematic, ordered learning. Not all Bible studies provide this. The “First Principles” series from BILD International does. What’s needed are studies that present the big ideas of the gospel, summarized in manageable lessons, such that by the end, a believer has been exposed to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles.
  4. Community. No local church can exist without a vibrant Christian community. Believers should meet not only for Sunday group worship, but also gather during the week, for friendship, prayer, Bible study, and even sharing a meal. This is what the early church did. And it’s the pattern established and given for us through the ages.
    People at the Cross

    People at the Cross

  5. Leadership. If we are called to leadership in the church, we should obey the call. We should support those called to leadership with encouragement, prayer, and thankfulness.
  6. Monetary Support. We need to tithe to the local church. We also need to support missionaries that steward the Pauline Cycle with our generous contributions. Missions, both local and foreign, is the main goal of the church.
  7. Prayer Support. We need to pray for our local church, our church leaders, and our missionaries. We need to unleash God’s power in the endeavors we’re involved in.
  8. Engagement. Above all, wherever the church needs workers, we should be involved and engaged. We should not be a “pew sitter” but a willing participant in Christ’s plan to bring the gospel to all who do not know him.

Why are we here? To engage with and support the local church under Christ. There can be no higher endeavor than that.

Next time we’ll look at the next question on our list: How should we live?