Question: What Does Church Do For The World That NO OTHER Group, Institution, Company or Nation Can???

Snapshot 1 Calendar attempt 1

Please read this, consider it, and offer an answer.

I am a churchman.  I believe Jesus when he says, “On this rock I build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!” (Matt. 16:18).

Now… we might argue over the meaning of all, or any part of, that statement.  And in arguing at that level, we might illuminate features that go normally unseen (even by me).  But I have no desire to argue that Jesus said it, that he meant it, or whether he might or might not be wrong about it.  No.  I will take that much at face value.  This is the word of God for us.  We must accept it.

But here’s the thing: I know LOTS of people who “do not believe in organized religion”, who say – “Give me Jesus; keep your church”, and practically every Christian in the world today either goes their own way (Lone Ranger Christian) or is part of a splintered off denomination.  Some way or another, we are all splintered off the rock and the church Jesus builds. We are not all together as one church – an assembly which apparently raids the gates of hell and wins!

My point is not to plea for unity in this post (though everything I say will beg the question).  Rather, my point is to question just what we thought “church” was supposed to do.  What do you think church does?  What does church offer?  What is church supposed to offer?  What is the point of it?  And especially… What among these questions is unique to the church that is found no where else?

I know I am speaking of an ideal church here.  But isn’t Jesus too?  And even with flaws, what excellence should we strive for?

I am not a Lone Ranger Christian.  I belong to both Catholic and Protestant communions – as a matter of negotiating the break among us in my own life.  I believe in “religion” (James 1:27) and church (Heb. 10:25).  I believe in the word of God (II Tim. 3:16).  But we have rejected these things in our rejection of each other.  And I sense we have lost our sense of vocation – our reason to be.

Yes, I am a churchman, but I am a critic too!  This also is biblical.  Just look at every letter St. Paul writes; he fills them with correction and critique.  Look at St. John’s Apocalypse with its letters to the seven churches – churches filled with flaws, damage, and heresy!  Yes, I am a churchman, but I am a critic too.

But getting to the nub of my point, my work as a street minister, prison minister, and hospital minister puts me in close quarters with lots of para-church ministries that somehow think they should and even can step up to fill some void that the church ignores, but I think that is a mistake.  Jesus did not start a 501c3 on that rock.  And I fear the gates of hell can withstand the assault of a 501c3!  But if Jesus is right, then there is something the church has to offer the world that no other organization can.

What is that?

Please think about it and offer an answer.

 

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24 comments

  1. zeroneday.com · 27 Days Ago

    Bravo! I haven’t taken the time to actually read your post but the question in itself is the answer.

    You may remember me, I used to post on 1WEBLOG but have since turned me attention to ZERONEDAY and other efforts.

    The Church is family.

    We offer unconditional love.

    We are mandated to love our enemies.

    We are mandated to love our neighbors.

    We are mandated to lay down own our lives for our friends and preach the Gospel.

    We heal the sick and cast out demons in His Name.

    We set the captives free.

    The trouble is these days, the 501c3’s are creating more captives.

    We need to remember we’re not that special.

    All men are created equal.

    We need to seek out the lost, the hurting, the poor and provide them whatever it is they need to make it through the day.

    We need to be Christ.

    Otherwise, our worship is in vain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Larry Who · 27 Days Ago

    “On this rock I build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!” (Matt. 16:18).

    i believe the above scripture to be true, but, but, but, but I don’t believe today’s traditional church – for the most part – is the church Jesus was referring to in the verse. We can point our fingers at many places, but the problem is how do we return to the church that was able to turn the world upside down in just a short period of time? Maybe we need to start all over…for the most part.

    So, I’m sure everyone has their own thoughts on this, but here’s mine:

    We need to return to a simple church format where the emphasis is not on sermons and religious rigamarole, but on discipling believers so that they are changed into the image of Christ. If they then become discipled, they will do the works of Jesus. How can this be done? Smaller groups where everyone is an integral part rather than a pew sitter. One of my guiding verses on this is 1 Corinthians 14:26 “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”

    My hope is that eventually the Church would be filled with Mathew 5, 6, and 7 believers or Sermon on the Mount followers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 26 Days Ago

      Thank you Larry for your thoughtful response. And I think you are dealing with some of the matters I raised in my post, alright, but… But I raised them as a backdrop for my question. What does the church do, offer, or what have you that no one else does or can? What is unique to the church that you will not find or produce anywhere else???

      Like

  3. paulfg · 26 Days Ago

    Sitting here pondering your post and question – considering this, that, and the other – I couldn’t find an answer. So I went off and did other stuff. But all afternoon that really bugged me: that I could not just go : “Wham – there is the answer.”

    And as I came back for another look at your words, He just whispered quietly one single word:

    “Me.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 26 Days Ago

      Of course I like the “Me” answer. In a sense, that says it all. But like any answer that says it all, it needs a lot of unpacking.

      Your answer is suggesting that there is no other way for me to get “Me” than through the church. No one else offers “Me”. There is a HUGE limitation on the “Me” you answer with here. And that is only one aspect of the answer(s) that might be encapsulated in the “Me” answer.

      I think it is worth our trouble to consider just what/who the church is… as we find her in the Bible. There are a lot of phrases/metaphor/symbols in the Bible that cover this. The church is “the Bride of Christ”, the church is the “body” of Christ with Christ as head, It is the “temple being constructed with sons”… The church is Israel – fulfilled/completed. And Jesus is the complete and perfect representation of God. He is the Son (and we together are his body – meaning part of him, meaning part representation of God, TRUE Isreal, and Son). That would make the church the body part of THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. The church is starting to sound REALLY SPECIAL now! And St Paul calls Jesus “the LAST Adam” which puts him in BOTH continuity as well as incontinuity with the first one). And the first Adam and his Bride were IMAGE BEARERS of God! And cultivators in his creation!

      As I see it, all of this (and more) is packed up in the “Me” answer. In fact, both Adam and Jesus are mandated to reign over creation! Both are indwelt by God’s own Spirit. (No 501c3 – no matter how important – can claim that!)

      I also see the church as the local of TRUE Worship. A priestly celebratory group that brings the REAL celebration of the Creator God/Father of Jesus.

      And as I see it, all this is packed up in your good answer – “Me”.

      You think???

      Liked by 3 people

      • paulfg · 26 Days Ago

        “Of course I like the “Me” answer. In a sense, that says it all. But like any answer that says it all, it needs a lot of unpacking.”
        🙂
        And so the debate continues.

        What I took from that one word is that any and all other “organisations” can be kind and loving, can be generous and forgiving, and all may lead to the Lord – all may be reflections of the Lord and Love … BUT …

        To become one with the Lord? No other organisation (and I differentiate between individuals and organisations who have individuals as part of the organisation) offer that union. And my experience is that all churches – no matter how “good or bad” I might think they are – do offer that. The church always offers “Me” because “Me” is the only thing that draws us together as church (in all those frustratingly different ways).

        Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 26 Days Ago

      I am aware that any answer that unpacks it all says too much too. Its a phenom I see, but I don’t understand. If I unpack “Me” completely, I will be stuck here talking about it forever. I will never exhaust the unpacking. I will lose you way before I am done, and I am not the most articulate person, nor the most interesting.

      I think you are right to say “Me” – the answer you heard. In fact if I only had a one-word option, I think that would be the best one – or as good as any. But of course if you had not sayd that “He… whispered” it, then I could have easily thought by “Me” you meant you.

      That one word answer “Me” is carrying freight in a certain context that it does not carry in others.

      So, let me clarify a bit more for my purposes, the context in which your answer resonates so powerfully.

      The church I belong to (it has flaws … good and bad, faith and sin in it, but that is all beside my point) offers several various ministries. And in fact, mostly supports various ministries around town through funding and volunteers. That is great! So do I. In fact two entirely different organizations feature care for the homeless. They are distinct organizations from one another and from the church I belong to. Both go about the work they do in different ways. One is a “day shelter” with lots of services AND even houses a handful of people in a merit-based housing-first program. The other is a glorified soup kitchen – meaning they host for meals (fine meals btw) and create a social hall of sorts. Neither one of these organizations is actually a church (though one does tend to confuse that notion).

      The church I belong to is not the only church to support these organizations. And in fact, some of the organizations that support these two are not churches. They actually have business support in the community as well. They received support from student organizations too. And though both organizations are founded on Christian Charity ideals, they are not in fact churches. Though they offer prayers and so forth as part of their service(s), they are not church. And in fact, if a Muslim or Hindu or Witch wanted to join in the service with no commitment to Christ at all, they could without question – after all, these organizations are not church. The charity they offer is not actually unique to church.

      My question(s) seeks to discover what the church brings to the table that is substantially different. Volunteers and money? The state school, the pagans, the businesses in town all supply that too! How long before we either decide other organizations have the real power to heal and we don’t really need a church? Or will we discover there is something indispensable about the church, and if we do that, then what of the volunteers and money? Will we continue to supply those too? And if we find there is something else… something more… something “Me” that brings some new, some fresh, some powerful level to healing and helping that is heretofore going missed, what will come of that church then?

      I have some ideas about that alright. I will explore my thoughts on that on this blog more in future posts. But for now, I am seeking answers to this question: What does that church have to offer that no one else has to offer? On the one hand I am hoping someone will provide insight I do not have. Or that they will articulate better answers I would provide. Or, at the very least, that I might prime the neural pathways in the minds of others reading here to receive the answers I and others would supply.

      Yes, I think “Me” is correct. How does “Me” function in this context? I want to explore that. I am sure we will never exhaust the exploration before we ourselves are exhausted from it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • T. F. Thompson · 26 Days Ago

        A few years ago, in response to an atheist, I wrote an article titled, “In The Absence of God.” There, I describe where in the 60s in excess of 30,000,000 Chinese were killed by their own government. Previously, we saw the identical in the former Soviet Union where Stalin ‘purge’ in excess of 16 million, or in the late 70s, Cambodia annihilated millions of their own. All of these countries had at least one element in common: they did not have the church: they did not have God.

        Consequently, perhaps you can see the great contribution of the church in its ABSENCE. Mostly, in the absence of the church, we also have the absence of GOD.

        So then, as bad as the church may be at times, we see where goodness is produced by them when they are around. At least we can see where the uncontrolled evil is aroused when they are NOT around.

        All of this gets us back to reality in terms of what is and what is not. Who cares about the intellectual properties of virtue or goodness when the truth is smacking us right there in our face?

        Through Jesus, the church offers HOPE! At times, this hope may suck, but overall, it produces good and alleviates the misery for some: at times for many.

        Yet we can easily compare people with the influence of the church or when the church is removed. I’ll take the presence of the church any day.

        And this is why I want: Jesus Christ in Black in White as a symposium, as there are exactly the types of questions that should be discussed and recorded. They are important to us, and too, perhaps even more important to others as many have lost their way.

        Liked by 3 people

      • paulfg · 26 Days Ago

        Gotcha! Now let me ponder and come back soon. I think you have touched on something so fundamental that “woolly answers” hide the absence of “why”. “Me” keeps on working at an intuitive level (for me) – now just have to let Him figure out how to let me verbalise the why 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • paulfg · 25 Days Ago

        Church is a place where Me in me is in balance.

        I think we all have “Me” within us. A connection of the spirit that is part of us. Our creativity, our intuition, our selflessness, our kindness, our love, our desiring love. Things which are not of the body but of the spirit. Why do we have “Me” within us (if this could be considered credible)? Because we do.

        Ghosts, out of body experiences, a knowing thousands of miles apart, random “miracles” unexplained other than by the spirit within each. Just as we each suppress and allow different traits, so too different “traits” of “Me” within.

        Why church? Church allows the “Me” within me to connect with the “Me” within you. Church allows Me to connect within each of us. It allows us to not suppress the Me within. It encourages allowing Me to roam free. It allows the Me within the me I am. Whole. Whole of body, of mind and of spirit. Balanced and whole. Whole and healed.

        Ministries? Funding? Volunteers? They are all outward expressions of connection – of allowing the Me to connect with the suppressed me within those unbalanced, unhealthy, unwelcome, unworthy, unhelped, and unreleased. Ministries which feed the body, the mind AND the soul.

        Without church Me is individual and unbalanced. Me is a yearning to help, a desire to heal, a need to be involved. But without church and the alignment of Me in all … only half the job is done. A healthy body. A stimulated mind. And then a yearning soul still ignored.

        Without church there is only me in the dark hours. No Me alongside. I am alone I the dark hours. I will seek connection of the spirit. I will wander seeking others. I will open doors to those of the spirit who seek to take. I will invite in those who desire to hurt. I will indwell those of the spirit who wish to rule.

        Church is a place where Me in all of us is in balance.

        (all afternoon I have been depressed at how the words refused to come. And then in the past few minutes the cry inside of: “Who will be with when I am alone?” released something – and these words followed.

        I never ever knew I “knew” before – thank you.)

        Liked by 3 people

  4. T. F. Thompson · 26 Days Ago

    An astounding question. If nothing else, we can credit the organized church with ENDURANCE, and yes, in keeping the bible. If there were no other reasons, and there are, I would support them because of this.

    Much of the good that the organized church does is unsaid and unsung. And to their credit, that is good. However, on other things, the church can be full of it and often are. There were full of it when it came to slavery. Full of it when it comes to tithes (Old testament) and also in mostly how bad they are in making disciplines. Too, I see the word pastor as a verb and they read it as a noun. Consequently, many sit in the pews, say amen and do absolutely nothing. We are all to that effect are supposed to be leaders. Finally, I see where the ‘leadership of today’s churches should trust the laity more to perform their work as Christ has instructed. This would create a decrease in attention to buildings and more on direct discipleship. I don’t think all the buildings are wrong, but certainly I believe I can make a case that we have way too many of them and that the resources could serve better to take care of those so much in need. This is a great call to the church and I hope to hear from more and from all. Thank you for reading my post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 26 Days Ago

      Thanx Tom. As you surely can see, my post (my question) is prompted in part by our conversation. (it is a discussion I am carrying on with my kids too.)

      Let me ask you this: What is/was the church created for?

      Liked by 1 person

      • T. F. Thompson · 26 Days Ago

        The church (congregation) is/was Jesus’s gift to us. It marked the beginning of eternity insomuch we were to follow him, be a part of him and continue on the same as he did. This was/is an eternal pact or covenant between the Son of God and us as HEIRS to his kingdom beginning here on earth replete with promises, power and many other benefits that rise above mere mortals that was provided to us from God through his Son, the Christ. In essence, God’s adoption of the ‘Christian’ by grace into his heavenly family. In earthly terms, there is no way to beat it.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Ronald Exum · 26 Days Ago

    I always respond, “My church is chaotic and does not meet the definition of organized.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. paulfg · 25 Days Ago

    Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:
    What Does Church Do For The World That no Other Group, Institution, Company or Nation Can?

    Over at Agent X’s place there is a wonderful conversation.

    What does Church do that nothing else can? I have never been asked to answer that question. I have always accepted that God is Church is Church is God. God and Church are almost interchangeable (not really – but you know what I mean).

    Agent X asked the question and I find myself drawn into a conversation of connection getting deeper by the comment. I find myself wondering why I have never asked myself the same question ever before. And I find myself struggling to find answers that make sense. And then I find myself being given words that make sense but come from elsewhere.

    I invite you to have a look at what might be the moist grounding conversation you will have. Because I am finding out that I love church. And I never knew I did – not until Agent X allowed my God – his God – our God – to allow Me in me to roam free.

    (as always comments are disabled here, please chip in at Agent X’s place, thank you)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: What Does Church Do For The World That no Other Group, Institution, Company or Nation Can? | Just me being curious
  8. John Lewis · 25 Days Ago

    I’m going to be as brief as possible here. I also hope to have something intelligent to add. The church is here for the gathering of believers, for us to come together to support one another in the faith, to pass the faith from one believer to another, to love one another. This is what we can’t get anywhere else but the church – one another!! Jesus told us that “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is why a “lone ranger” Christian is simply deceiving himself…if there is no “one another” then we are not following Christ, and there is no church.

    And of course by our love they will know we are his disciples, we will be light of the world. We will be set apart, like a city on a hill. They will be drawn to us because we will be different. Not because we can go prove to them that we have the road to heaven, not that we can prove to them that they are sinners in need of a savior. That’s all true, of course, but that’s not how we are called to gather sheep for the shepherd. They will be drawn because we will be different. We will have peaceable lives, and yes people will knock on the door if they can see our peaceable lives.

    I really like what TF Thompson said above BTW – maybe we can most see the need for the church in its absence. Think about what Nietzche said – “God is dead”. But Nietzche, despite his atheism, did not celebrate. He knew that the philosophical death of God would bring about a worldwide bloodbath. And of course, the 20th century saw more bloodshed than the 19 which preceded it combined.

    Liked by 1 person

    • T. F. Thompson · 25 Days Ago

      Actually, he said that God is dead because man killed him. He was correct. He was a believer.

      Liked by 2 people

      • John Lewis · 23 Days Ago

        Guess I will have to take your word on that, but just a quick check of his biography tells me that he was not.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. saltmywords · 25 Days Ago

    Pray. We pray for world leaders (whether we agree with them or not) and we pray for local leaders in government, schools, churches, and homes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 25 Days Ago

      Prayer… Yes. That is very close to what I see too. Right in there with “Me”.

      I am sure that individuals, even city governments (here in the USA it is ironic with our separation of church and state), and definitely para-church organizations can offer prayer too… So at one level, it is not unique. But prayer is access to “Me” – to the throne room of heaven. And there is something about church that has that access that you cannot find elsewhere…

      Thanx for your input. It is highly valued here.

      Like

  10. saltmywords · 25 Days Ago

    Thank you. We also pray for our children. (I pray for mine above all else) We are in Czech and more times than not, stand out as ‘the Believers.’ It was difficult when my daughter lost nearly all of her school friends when she refused to lie to me, start drinking alcohol, and smoke with her friends. Luckily for all of us, she had her church friends and family (and us, of course) to depend on.
    This may seem weird and not sure if I can use the right words, but to me, church is not a building, but a feeling. We go to a building every Sunday morning. There are just over 100 members. We have praise and worship music, our pastor delivers a message. But to me, the real ‘church’ happens after we leave. During the rest of the week. How we live our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: WHAT DOES CHURCH DO FOR THE WORLD…? | The Gathering Journal

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