The Purpose of the Church

by Lee Buford on June 1, 2012

The purpose of the Church is often debated, most-doggedly it seems in Christian circles and churches themselves. Not to the exclusion of its ultimate role in glorifying God, but many differ regarding the purposes, processes, and programs that make up each individual church’s plan to go about the glorification of God.

Mark Dever’s book, The Church: The Gospel Made Visible, provides a clear and helpful look at the subject. In defining the Church’s purpose Dever addresses the importance and roles of all necessary aspects of any biblical church. Corporate gathering, preaching and teaching, worship and discipleship, and missions and evangelism are all critical elements that should be present in all of our churches. But to what end? For what ultimate purpose was the Church created and designed?

The glory of God is the ultimate purpose for which the Church exists.

It is tempting for us to get hung up on one aspect or another when assessing the “success” or “legitimacy” of any given church relative to any of the components above. And clearly some careful examination of the commitment to each is warranted, especially within the walls of a given church. But we must not fail to remember the overriding purpose for which each component is important. As Dever so aptly concludes,

“The church ultimately exists for the glory of God. Whether pursuing missions or evangelism; edifying one another through prayer and Bible study; encouraging growth in holiness; or assembling for public, praise, prayer, and instruction, this one purpose prevails. The church is the unique instrument for bringing God such glory….No lesser matters are at stake in the church than the promulgation of God’s glory throughout his creation.” (p. 77)

May we remember this purpose. May we consistently fight to uphold the pursuit of this purpose. And we may we be graceful in urging our brothers and sisters to do likewise.

We have no greater purpose. To Him be the glory!



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