Most people take the existence of churches for granted. But why do they exist? Why did Jesus Christ start the Church in the first place? What is its purpose?
There are thousands and thousands of churches, each differing from the next. People who attend modern, liberal churches view the purpose of the church as a spiritual experience, an emotional lift, or a positive psychological influence. People who attend more traditional evangelical Christian denominations view the purpose of the church as God’s instrument for saving anyone He can from eternal hellfire before it’s too late.
The true purpose of God’s true Church is far more powerful, far more practical, and far more glorious than any of these churchgoers realize!
To understand why the Church exists today, consider first what the word church means. In the New Testament, the word church is translated from the Greek word ekklesia, which means called-out ones. The Church of God is an assembly, a congregation, a gathering, a group of people called out by God.
Consider the implications of this plain statement by Jesus Christ: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). The only way for anyone to come to Christ is if God the Father draws or calls out that person from the rest of the world (1 Corinthians 12:18).
Most people simply cannot come to Christ and become part of God’s Church! During His ministry on Earth, Jesus did not try to gain converts. God “called out,” or drafted, 12 disciples to receive special training. Jesus actually hid full understanding from most of the people He spoke to (e.g. Luke 12:32). By the end of His ministry, there were only 120 individuals in the Church.
Yet the Bible reveals that God does intend to save all of mankind! (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Not just the disciples, not just the minority that is called into His Church, not just the vast majority of those who are alive today, but the vast majority of all who have ever lived. How? The answer plainly reveals the purpose of the Church.
The purpose of the Church is the same today as it was during the era of the disciples: to preach God’s message of warning and hope to the world, and to spiritually train those God calls into His Church to help Jesus Christ save the world.
God has not called individuals into His Church merely for their own salvation. If that was the case, He would be a respecter of persons. He did not call individuals into His Church to try to spiritually save the world now. If that was the case, He and the Church have failed, century after century.
Humanity lives in Satan’s world (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). But God has a master plan to save humanity: those who have joined wrong religions, those who have never understood religion, those who have never seen a Bible, those who have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ—whether they are alive today or whether they died long ago. How?
By selecting and training members of His Church to devote their lives to doing His Work and living His way. By sending Jesus Christ—soon—to return in glory and power. By Jesus Christ and the Church literally governing all mankind with the government of God. And by a future resurrection from the dead.
When Christ returns, He will establish His government over the whole Earth and offer salvation to all human beings. Helping Him will be individuals who were called out ahead of time, who rejected Satan’s way of life, who embraced God’s way of life, and who dedicated themselves to God’s Work and to preparing themselves to assist Christ.
What is the purpose of the true Church? To preach God’s message of warning and hope, and to prepare members to assist Jesus Christ in bringing salvation to mankind after He returns.
You can read much more about this inspiring subject in “The Mystery of the Church,” the longest chapter of Herbert W. Armstrong’s most important book, Mystery of the Ages. We will gladly send you your own free copy.