Your Bad Ecclesiology Is Hurting Us

| March 9, 2016

“What is a church?”

It was the question I dreaded most. I was 28 years old and had been promoted from missions team leader to regional director. I was sitting at our monthly leaders’ meeting, with 10 other team leaders representing more than 80 full-time supported missionaries who served in the 10/40 window. Our discussions were supposed to be motivating and encouraging, and they often were. We talked about evangelism strategy and fruitfulness, of growing disciples and the potential for multiplication in the future. But then someone would ask that question, or one like it. Is our goal to plant churches? Were we doing that? And, oh, by the way, do we even agree on what a church is? What makes a church a church?

I dreaded the question because I didn’t know the answer. Worse, I knew from repeated fruitless discussions that nobody in the room knew the answer. We didn’t know how to define a church, much less a good or healthy one. What was the difference between a church and a gathering of 25 students on a college campus? We had started plenty of those. What was the difference between a church and 30 business professionals gathering for regular Bible…

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