If you conducted a survey where you asked randomly, “What is the reason for a church?”, the answers would be as vastly unique as the individuals queried. The atheist or non-believer might say that the church is a corrupt business cloaked in religion. The nominal or carnal Christian could suggest that church is where you go to feel better, or it’s what you’re supposed to do on Sunday. Another individual might add that church is where you go to learn about God’s love for all mankind. All of these can be counted as valid answers, because whether perceived as true or actually true, this is the way the vast majority of modern mainstream churches have conducted themselves.
If you did a similar survey where you asked pastors of these mainstream churches, “How do you know your church is successful?”, I guarantee that 9 out of every 10 would make reference to growth; whether monetarily, attendance, church size or conversions. It’s no wonder, with pastors and church leaders conducting themselves more like CEOs than shepherds, that the church is perceived as a business. While there is certainly nothing wrong with growth and being capable of providing, it should not be the measure of success nor even a primary reason for the church. The modern mainstream church has become secularized.
People are demanding ‘feel good’ worship services that are both entertaining and non-confrontational. The mainstream church, with its focus on success, gives them what they want and these churches are flourishing. Messages about sin, damnation, apostasy, wrath, and Hell are not popular so they are not being preached on, out of fear of losing potential growth. To take it a step further, some are even preaching in favor of social and cultural agendas that have traditionally been seen as contradictory to Biblical Truth. This routine of catering to sin not only makes powerless the saving truth of Christ, but it breeds ignorant groups of unbiblical ‘Christians’ whose theme is “Judge Not!” the sinner – Matthew 7:7.
If you were to ask me what is the reason for the church, I wouldn’t be able to give a perfect or definite one size fits all answer. I would suggest however, that the church is responsible for at least these two things: The spiritual welfare and spiritual growth of God’s people, and to be a beacon of light or the example for the world. Though some might disagree, the church is made up of broken and sinful people. The reasons the atheist or non-believer calls us hypocrites is because no one is able to live up to the standards preached. The Christian recognizes these truths, the end results of being imperfect before a prefect God, and the unequivocal need for Christ. Christians have a dire need for a biblical church, and so does the world in order that God’s love might be shown through His people.