The Unique Church

There are a myriad of ways in which unhelpful assessments of the local church occur today.

There is commonality among the children of the same parents, to be sure; however, the unique personality of each child–more than the commonalities–is what often draws the attention and focus of parents. This is no less true in the ecclesiastical world than it is in the home. The church (universal) owes her origin to the same God and Savior. However, each local church has its own peculiar strengths and weaknesses.

 

Too often, ministers foolishly embrace the ecclesiastical advice of those who know absolutely nothing about the specific arrangement of the local church they pastor. A pastor is animated by an article in which today’s latest “church expert” insists that he or she has the corner on what should be done in every church. All the while, he forgets that that those writing such articles often know absolutely nothing about the various personal, cultural, industrial, socio-economic, religious, ethnic or age dynamics represented by the town in which each local church is set. There are a myriad of ways in which unhelpful assessments of the local church occur today–precisely because most people are not taking into account the fact that every local church has its own unique challenges and characteristics.

While all mankind has descended from the same first parents, no one would argue with the fact that each of us has our own unique personality, gifts, struggles, strengths and weaknesses. Parents of multiple children acknowledge how each of their children are perplexingly different from the others. There is commonality among the children of the same parents, to be sure; however, the unique personality of each child–more than the commonalities–is what often draws the attention and focus of parents. This is no less true in the ecclesiastical world than it is in the home. The church (universal) owes her origin to the same God and Savior. However, each local church has its own peculiar strengths and weaknesses.

Many, seeking to address what they believe to be the weaknesses of the church (universal) today, mistakenly treat all (local) churches as if they were monolithic entities. This is no less true of those who talk about what a church should look like with regard to its structure and growth, as it is of those who speak of what it should look like as to its cultural involvement. When we turn to the Scriptures, we find both unity and diversity regarding each local church and the expectations that God has for them. The Scriptures have much to tell us about both the uniformity and the diversity of local church expectations.

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