What is the Local Church?
I am currently in the PhD program at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. My last doctoral seminar was on the topic of biblical ecclesiology—the study of the church. One of our capstone projects was to formulate some thoughts about (1) the local church; (2) the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper); (3) church discipline; and (4) church leadership, membership, and polity (government).
Over the next few weeks I plan to share with you some of the thoughts and conclusions I came to after a couple months of reading and study. Today we will start with something very brief. I was asked to define the local church in 100 words or less. The following is what I proposed:
The local church is a regular gathering of like-minded believers for the glory of God. Under the ultimate headship of Christ Jesus, the church is led by pastors/elders/overseers, served by deacons, and ruled by its members in good standing. The church exists to worship its Savior through all of its ministries, which include, but are not limited to: the preaching/teaching of the Word, the observance of the ordinances, the spreading of the gospel, and the fellowship of the saints.
What would you add or subtract from this definition? What would you write if you were asked to define the local church in 100 words or less? I look forward to reading your thoughts!