I saw a recent sermon series being promoted at one of the churches in Lexington on “The Church: Finding the Niche” (I may have the title slightly off, but it’s close).
Unless I am grossly mistaken, the “niche” of the church is to:
- reach the lost (Matthew 28:19ff; cf Mark 16:15ff)
- encourage the saints (Acts 16:40, Romans 15:4, Philippians 2:1, Hebrews 3:13; cf Isaiah 35:3)
There is no other “niche” into which we must fall as a church – we’re not to be the
- rich church
- poor church
- white church
- black church
because “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
The mentality of corporate America and modern education has infiltrated the church, and it is extremely dangerous. While there is to be specialization within the church (“He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11ff), there is not be be specialization OF the church.
Ecclesiology, of the Doctrine of the Church, covers in intimate detail the purpose of the church in the world, and that which is to come. Without commenting on the denominational views of that term, one thing all true Christians agree on is that God put the church here to do His work after Christ ascended into heaven.
That work was clearly articulated by Jesus before His ascension – “go..make disciples, baptizing them”. We are to GO, MAKE, and BAPTIZE. Three simple verbs. We are not to ISOLATE and WAIT – we are to GO and MAKE.
There’s our niche as the church of God in this world:
- Make disciples
- Baptize them