The ‘Marks’ of Our Churches: Keeping from Mission Drift

What are the things that undergird the church itself?

The idea of being a part of a ‘driven church’ is something we hear about a lot right now. It seems like there should be a certain purpose or set of purposes that should be motivating churches in the work that they’re doing.

Many may hear the words ‘purpose’ and ‘church’ and immediately think about Pastor Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Church. In the book, Rick lists some of the purposes of church—in total, there are 12 characteristics that he argues all purpose-driven churches should share.

Some of these purposes include:

  1. Having a Purpose Statement to describe the church’s promise to build the church in accordance with five New Testament purposes: worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry.
  2. Programming by purpose—again, to reflect the five New Testament purposes.
  3. Preaching by purpose to reflect the churches commitment to each area of purpose.
  4. Budgeting by purpose, categorizing expenditures based on the purposes they’re serving.
  5. Form small groups on purpose, insuring that each small group helps participants fulfill each of the five purposes in their daily lives.

I think you get the idea—the five New Testament purposes should flow into everything from what a church does, preaches, spends money on, etc. It’s a helpful way to talk about how purposes are lived out.

But today I think we need to ask ourselves: What are the things that undergird the church itself?

In other words, what is one level below the purposes? What are the marks?

The marks of the church

If you were to go into a bookstore and buy a book on ecclesiology, you’d find that sometimes people refer to the purposes of the church as the ‘marks’ of the …

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