01 Februari 2008

The Purpose of Our Church

Every church is driven by something. Rick Warren wrote: “tradition, finances, programs, personalities, events, seekers, and even buildings can each be the controlling force in a church[1]. Can you imagine if every person in our church has a single different purpose? What will happen? It will be a chaos! Everyone will compel others and assume if he or she knows his or her church’s purpose well.

It is important for us to have a critical question to this thing. The question is “who has the authority to determine the purpose of the church?” In theology we understand if we are Lord’s creation. The purpose of human life is not determined by the creation but by the Creator. Even in Philosophy we understand that the Lord is Causa Prima (The First Cause). Every creator has determined his purpose when he creates his own creation. He puts the purpose in his creation. He makes his creation to function according to the purpose. No one in this world has the authority to determine his own purpose of life. If someone tries to determine his own purpose, this is what the Bible says: “they have rebelled to God”. Human cannot foresee the future nor control the future. So how can we determine something that we cannot control except by God? George Bernard Shaw wrote: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. We imagine what we desire, we will what we imagine; and at last we create what we will”.

We understand the church is not merely a building or an organization. The church is a community of human who believe in Jesus’ name. If we talk about church we talk about human. So, the church cannot determine her purpose either. She must ask God what The Lord’s purpose for her is. In this article we need to notice what Rick Warren has written in his book “Purpose Driven Church”. He questioned our church: “what is the driving force behind your church?”

As a pastor having serve 5 years at GKO Bintaro Jaya, I see some factors driving this church:
1. GKO Bintaro Jaya has been driven by tradition. It is difficult for us to make changes. Change is always seen as negative, and stagnation is interpreted as “stability”. We tend to be bound together by rules, regulations, and rituals. We repeat our tradition every week without any significant breakthrough.
2. GKO Bintaro Jaya has been driven by persons. The sound that we always hear in this community is: “What does the leader want?” not “what does the Lord want?”
3. GKO Bintaro Jaya has been driven by finance. Our activity in this church is driven by the question at the forefront of everyone minds, “How much will it cost?” or “do we have enough”.
I admit that we have two more factors which are: programs and events. However, these two things less significant than the previous three in our church.

Today we must admit our mistakes and change our own church direction. We should start with this question: “why does GKO exist?” As Elie Wiesel said: “When we die and go to heaven, our Maker is not going to say, why didn’t you discover the cure for such and such? The only thing we’re going to be asked at that precious moment is why didn’t you become you?” This is the basic meaning that “you become you” in God perspective not in human. If we know the reason of our existence we can understand our purpose. In Bible God wants the church to be saved and makes His church a model of His Kingdom lifestyle in this world. And the world will see what God wants through the church. That is the primary purpose of our church.

Daniel Zacharias
[1] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church.

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