Study 11 – The Church
What is the church?
Brainstorm (write on board/ paper). How is the word used by us?
The word church means an assembly (a gathering of called-out ones. It refers to people, not buildings or organisations. It is used in two ways in the N.T.:
(1) Local churches.
(2) The church universal (believers everywhere in every age).
(Once only does 'church' refer to churches in an area Acts 9:31 [A.V. Greek text has 'churches'].)
Who are the members?
Those who have been called to faith in Christ and redeemed by him.
What are the functions of the local church?
(a) Worship of God.
Worship is a wide term, currently used too narrowly for 'singing'. It includes singing, prayer, reading the Bible, and preaching.
[It has an even wider use for the whole of the Christian's life.]
(b) Teaching and preaching the truth.
(c) Ordinances. Baptism and the Lord's Supper (see next study).
(d) Fellowship ( sharing spiritual things.
(f) Evangelism (Mission).
How is the church ruled?
Christ is its head.
Christ's authority is exercised also through
Leaders in the church
Leaders in the church are referred to as elders and deacons and sometimes leaders.
In each local church there was a group of elders also known as pastors, overseers (bishops), and under-shepherds. The names are interchangeable. Their role is preaching, teaching, ruling, pastoral (shepherding) work and being a good example. See:
It is the duty of all of us if possible to belong to a local church.
Qualifications for church membership:
Baptised by immersion
Willing to join with that body in unity and love
In our church you need to agree to the central doctrines of the faith and be in sympathy with a summary of biblical truth (the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith).
[If you are interested, ask the elders at Grace for the church Constitution and Confession of Faith and discuss the matter with them.]