When Jesus said “I will build my church,” he was using the Greek word ekklesia* which is translated as “church” in English Bibles. A more detailed explanation is given below, but the basic idea was a group called out from the rest of the people. For Jesus, it was a gathering of people who accepted his call to become his disciples.
With this in mind, what is the most basic form of “church” that we can imagine? In my understanding, here are just three of the most basic factors that are required in a church. Many other factors can be added, but these three are essential, and needs to come first.
A gathering of people who follow Jesus must take time for worship. This should be a natural outcome of a gathering of believers. And of course, worship leads to obedience. Jesus said: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). True worship results in obedience to Jesus and his Word. Otherwise, it’s just a group of people singing songs.
This gathering of believers should relate together as a community. As a community, they relate to each other in love and concern. Caring for each other in love should be a natural outcome. Jesus said: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
As the church gathers together and enjoys the benefits of worship and community life, we must not forget those who have not entered into the Kingdom of our Lord. Jesus commanded his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20).
These three are the most basic factors that I look for when helping church planters get focused. It is easy to get lost trying to do too much. Instead, focus on just the basics until you have the people and the resources to do more.
There are other essentials that cannot be ignored. Followers of Jesus must be obedient to his Word. Baptism is an unavoidable command of Jesus that cannot be ignored. Love for one another and for those outside the faith is essential. And of course, there are many others. But let’s begin with the three basic ones first.
* The Greek word “ekklesia” is a combination of two words, meaning the word is a compound of two segments: “ek“, a preposition meaning “out of”, and a verb, “kaleo“, signifying “to call” – together, literally, “to call out,” or “called out ones.”
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