In 2002 Pastor Rick Warren wrote the well known book Purpose Driven Life. Before he wrote this book, he wrote a book called Purpose Driven Church that has become a church leadership classic. By examining the Biblical teaching on the church, Rick Warren distilled five principles that summarize the ministry of the Biblical church. These five principles are: Worship, Fellowship, Evangelism, Instruction and Ministry. They are based on Matthew 22:34-40 and Matthew 28:16-20. My wife is named Michelle so I remember them using the acronym WIFEM. Let’s look briefly at each principle. As always full sermon audio is available here.
Worship. Individual believers and the church corporately should always begin with worship. In worship we look to God and we honour him for who he is. Worship can be through music but it is much broader. Romans 12:1-2 teaches that we are to offer our bodies (whatever we do) as worship. There’s a story in the Bible about two sisters named Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus is at their house. Martha is being the good host and is busy in the kitchen setting the table, cooking the food, brewing the coffee. Mary on the other hand just sits with Jesus listening to him. Martha grows upset with Mary because she’s not helping with the preparations. Jesus gently chides Martha for her focus only on the work that needs to be done. Relationship with Jesus always comes first.
Fellowship. In this area those in the church focus on fellow believers. We are focused on belonging to the body of Christ. The metaphor that comes to mind is family. We are all placed together in the body of Christ and we have to learn to love, share, encourage and work through disagreements and conflicts with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Evangelism. In this category the church focusses on those who are currently outside the body of Christ. The danger for Christians is that it is easy to get comfortable worshipping and fellowshipping with fellow Christians and just stop there. Research and church consultants tell us that even declining churches often love their pastor, the worship music and each other. Fellowship is good. Worship is good. In short things seem great in the Christian bubble. However, the Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20) calls every Christians to be sharing the gospel and making disciples. This does not have to be as hard as it sounds. I guarantee there are people around you looking for Jesus, they just don’t know where to look. Gospel literally translates to ‘good news.’ Followers of Jesus have good news for the world!
Instruction. Here the focus is on equipping believers within the church (Eph 4:11-13). Formal things included here are sermons, the Bible study portion of a small group, a Bible class and so on. Individual believers have a responsibility to read the Bible, spend time in prayer and develop their relationship with God. We also equip by example. It’s fascinating having a toddler. Every day Michelle and I are amazed by the things our daughter Eve is learning. Many times she’ll say a word that we have not consciously taught her. She has heard us using the word and she begins to use the word based on what she has seen us do. In instruction we use both actions and words to equip others.
Ministry. Here we focus on others, both inside and outside the church. As Christians we are called to care deeply about others. We cannot do ministry apart from a relationship with Jesus but according to James 2:14-17 true faith cannot worship apart from serving and loving others.
In the end this is all meant to come full circle. A disciple is one who follows Jesus and teaches others to follow Jesus. The church is meant to grow by multiplication. Worship, fellowship, evangelism, instruction and ministry. This is what the church does. Ultimately it’s all about Jesus transforming people, one life at a time.
Until next week,