The local church is God’s gift to the world! It is the place that God has ordained and designed to facilitate the spiritual growth of every believer. It is also the place where those who don’t know Christ can be saved. These are just two of the many purposes served by the local church. Here are several more:
A Meeting Place
The church is where God has commanded believers to meet – church attendance is not an option! Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together,as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” You are not experiencing life the way God intended if you are not part of a local congregation with a Pastor and spiritual brothers and sisters.
In this anointed meeting place, we experience the power of corporate prayer, praise, worship, fellowship and instruction. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” We come to the local church for a personal encounter with the King of Kings!
God has called each and every one of us to “Go…and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19) The local church facilitates this outreach effort by teaching members how to be effective witnesses in how they present the gospel and how they live it out. Your life may be the only bible that some people ever read!
Evangelism is outreach; discipleship is “in” reach! The local church is the place where people are being “perfected” – trained in the principles of God and taught how to live better, love better, serve better and give better. Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
The Work of the Ministry
What is the work of the ministry? It is whatever work, initiatives, programs or projects the church is undertaking at a given time. The pastor receives the vision for the church from God, and that will drive what the church is doing. The work of the ministry may be visiting the prisons, working with the youth, building a new church, hosting events for the community, giving to accomplish a ministry goal, or a host of other things. Whatever the work is, God needs His people to accomplish it! The local church gives people an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to make a difference in the lives of others through their service.
Spiritual Ceremonies and Services
The church is the place where we participate in the sacred ceremonies of baptism and holy communion.
Baptism is a Christian ordinance that symbolizes the death of the old nature of sin (our carnal selves) and a resurrection to a new life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:3-8). It also symbolizes the cleansing power of His blood and an outward testimony of our faith in the Lord Jesus.
Communion is a holy time of worship when we come together as one body to remember and celebrate what Christ did for us on the cross.
“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 11:24
• Baby Dedication
Baby Dedication is a ceremony in which parents and families make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child (age 2 and under) to God’s will, and to raise that child according to His Word and ways.
Baby Dedications are held on a quarterly basis. To participate in our next Baby Dedication, pick up and complete a Baby Dedication Form – they are available at Guest and Membership Services in the foyer.
If you are not part of a local church at this time, find one in your area and join it…you’ll see the difference it makes in your life. If you live in the Washington, DC Metro area, we invite you to the Harvest Life Changers Church! Click here for information that will help you to plan your visit!