Leadership Letters
Leadership Letters

Writings on Christian leadership and leader development by Malcolm Webber

August 2015
« May   Nov »


The Four Core Purposes of Every Church

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

We all need vision. Individual church members, local churches, and whole church networks need to be filled with a shared, compelling and heavenly vision in order for them to be – and remain – healthy and vibrant.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint…. (Proverbs 29:18a, ESV)

So then…I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. (Acts 26:19)

Such a vision is based on a revelation of Jesus Christ – who He is and what He has done. Biblical vision is not a product of human invention but is communicated by the Holy Spirit into the hearts and minds of Jesus’ followers.

God has given each local church purpose. The local church is not simply to exist; it has clear biblical goals to be pursued and reached.

Outcomes of Vision

A clear corporate vision that is energized by the Holy Spirit will be used by God to provide five important outcomes:

  1. Unity – with a clear unified vision, all church members will be moving together.
  2. Direction – all members will be moving in the same direction.
  3. Balance – the church will not become lopsided by emphasizing one aspect of the church’s life and ministry over another.
  4. Fruitfulness – the ultimate result of clear vision will be greater health and fruitfulness.
  5. Evaluation – the vision also provides an ideal or goal against which stages of corporate maturity can be evaluated.


Essentials of A Church’s Vision

There may be many ways to summarize this kind of vision for a church or church network, but there are essential elements of purpose when a corporate vision is based on the New Testament.

An effective vision for a local church or network will contain these four key purposes:

  1. To love God – Worship
  2. To love one another – Servanthood
  3. To grow together into maturity by each member growing, serving, and building others – Discipleship
  4. To reach the world for Jesus – Mission

An effective vision provides clear direction. Every specific ministry of a local church or church network is to be based entirely upon this vision. All that is to be done revolves around it. A vision tells us what we will do; it also tells us what we will not do. Thus, keeping these four purposes in mind gives us balance and effectiveness as we live out the broader implications of the guiding vision.

  1. To love God – Worship
  1. To love one another – Servanthood
  1. To grow together – Discipleship
  1. To reach the world for Jesus – Mission

We are all part of the worldwide body of Christ that Jesus has commissioned to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Obedience to the Great Commission, both locally and on foreign fields, is the fulfilling of our love for God and our love for others.

If we love Jesus, then we will obey His clear commandment. Our love for Him and our desire for His glory will motivate us to be a part of this most awesome of undertakings: the proclamation of the kingdom of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ across the planet!

If we love others and if we have found life and liberty in Jesus Christ, then our desire will be that others may come into the kingdom of God, fully submitted to the lordship of Jesus in their lives, and released from the dominion of the powers of darkness. What higher evidence of our love for others could there be than this?

This mission of reaching the world includes:

If we truly love others, we will not be satisfied just by leading them to know the Lord as their Savior, but we will go on to fully obey the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 and see to it that they become His disciples. Then they will be able to find and fulfill God’s world-wide purpose for their lives and play their part in the great eternal plan of God, as they seek to love God, to love one another, to grow together to their full potential in Christ and to reach the world for Jesus!

These, then, are the four core purposes of every local church and every church network. The specific ministries in which these purposes are expressed may vary from place to place and time to time, but in a healthy church all four purposes will always be present and strong.

We all need vision. When shared together, a clear and compelling heavenly vision will enable us to grow and to ultimately experience greater fruitfulness, and, most importantly, to bring Him glory.