There’s the Church, which is the entire assembly of Jesus’ followers, and there are churches (lower case), which can represent local collections of Christian believers or followers (there is a difference!).
The Church as a whole is responsible for being obedient to our covenant with the Christ. We are to do these things in particular:
- Evangelize: How will people hear the good news of salvation if we don’t tell them?? (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 1:16 and 10:14-15; 2Corinthians 5:18-20)
- Be Charitable: The collecting of funds and other resources in the first-century Church was for the care of others including those who traveled to spread the Gospel message.
- Care for brothers & sisters in Christ (Matthew 25:41-43; James 2:13-17; Acts 4:32-35; Acts 6:1-5)
- Care for traveling evangelists (3John 1:7-8; Philippians 4:14-19)
- Worship: Although we worship God and our Christ through our speech and actions, we can also do this in song and dance. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)
- Governance: No one should be more important than another or ‘lord it over’ others, but fill roles as the Holy Spirit enables them.
- Elders – overseers within the churches (Acts 14:23; 1Timothy 5:17)
- Deacons – servants in the churches (1Timothy 3:8-13)
- Bishops – overseers among the churches (1Timothy 3:1-7)
- Discipleship: This is a very necessary step after evangelizing the Gospel message! We must share spiritual gifts, teach, mentor, and disciple to help others increase in their faith and stand firm against all kinds of wickedness and false teaching (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:17 and 10:17; Colossians 1:28 and 3:16; 2Timothy 3:16; Titus 1:9 and 2:3; Hebrews 5:12-14)
In summary, the Church at large is composed of true followers of Jesus who are obedient out of their faith by honoring God and treating their fellow humankind appropriately. This includes caring for them. Additionally, Jesus commanded us to spread the good news of salvation and make disciples. Everything we do as the corporate Church should work together for these purposes.
So . . . do you belong to the Church, a church, or both?