What is local church and why does it matter?
The word we translate to “church” is the Greek word ekklesia, which means “assembly” or “gathering.” Jesus’ words show us that gathering is God’s mission. Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).
If gathering is God’s mission, where does the local church fit into that? For instance, why do we gather together at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Carmel, Indiana (and other places)?
If we look at the Apostle Paul’s work and words, we see that specific churches in specific times and places had different, important roles to play in God’s mission to gather us all. The local church’s job, it seems, is to transform the city in which it’s planted. So…how do we pull that off?