This is a great illustration on what the local church is supposed to be. The local church is NOT about creating endless events to attract people to come, but empowering disciples to go into the world who embody the church in them.
We don’t go to church. We are the church, wherever we go.
We must be a missional church because God is a missional God.
Here are some characteristics that I think a good church should embody:
- God-centered – Specifically Trinitarian, in that the Father is glorified in everything when the people of God conforms more and more to the image of the Son, through the reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Mission oriented – Participating in the mission of God for the redemption of the world. Just as how the Father sent the Son and the Spirit, we are being sent into the world (John 17). The church should follow God’s lead in doing mission, paying attention to where He is currently at work.
- Biblically informed – The people of God should be thoroughly familiar with the over-arching biblical story and live out their lives according to their roles in the trajectory of that story line. They should also be able to retell this story well as part of any evangelistic effort. Telling people the biblical narrative is to tell people who God is and what God is up to with this world.
- Eschatalogically minded – The church should live out the present in light of the future redemption and glory God has prepared. This includes having a worshipful community that patterns after the eternal worship in the future (Rev 5). The church should also convey to the broken world a message of hope in light of God’s salvation and promises. Evil does not have the last word because God is sovereign and in control.
- Servanthood and Cruciform – The church should not be triumphalistic, but be demonstrative of God’s strength in weakness, serving others in humility and in cruciform.
- Be loving and hospitable – The church should demonstrate love, grace, and forgiveness in its congregational life, because that is how people can recognize them as Jesus’ disciples (John 13). Just as God is hospitable to us, the church should demonstrate God’s hospitality in welcoming and embracing everyone without prejudice, especially those who are weak, powerless, and oppressed. God’s compassionate heart is always on the side of those who are marginalized by society.