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What Is a Church Supposed to Do?

A mission statement has become a popular tool for businesses to clearly communicate the purpose of their existence. Here are a few of the mission statements of some of the largest companies in the world:

Google: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Facebook: Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Microsoft: Microsoft’s mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

Skype: Skype’s mission is to be the fabric of real-time communication on the web.

Disney: The mission of the Walt Disney Co. is to be one of the world’s leading producers of entertainment and information…we seek to develop the most creative, innovative, and profitable entertainment experiences.

Many in the secular world have the ability to clearly communicate their mission. The Lord Jesus Christ had this same ability when He gave His disciples their mission statement. The mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:18–20).

Over the years, many followers of Christ have redefined His mission. Christians belong to Jesus Christ—we are His followers, not the other way around. We have no right to redefine the purpose of the church. Our responsibility is to believe and obey the commands given by Jesus in what we refer to as the Great Commission.

What is the Great Commission of the church?

The Great Commission is to make disciples (followers of Jesus Christ). How do we do that?

In Matthew 28:19–20, Jesus used three action words to explain how to make a follower of Christ: going, baptizing, and teaching. For someone to become a follower of Christ, it is not enough just to become a Christian, nor is it enough just to get baptized. A true follower/disciple of Christ is someone who makes a commitment to follow Christ (is saved), then is baptized after making that commitment (see Acts 2:41), and then continually grows spiritually by learning the Bible, the Word of God.

Simply Put…

One of the clearest ways to define what a church family is supposed to do is: evangelism and edification. Every Christian is to be involved in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Evangelism = Soul Winning

Edification = Soul Building

From April 30 through May 4, Valley Forge Baptist will be hosting its 25th Annual Missions Conference. It truly is the most important week of the year for our church family. Someone wisely said, “A missions conference is a church in a business meeting deciding the fate of the heathen.” How will you vote? Come and meet some very special people who are willing to leave all that’s familiar in our country to take the Gospel to those in foreign lands.

It’s going to take the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to complete the job of reaching our world with the Gospel.

starfish

The story is told of a man strolling on the beach who spotted a young boy tossing starfish back into the ocean. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The man watched as the little fellow picked up another of the dying starfish that had washed ashore. He chided the boy: “I’ve been watching what you’re doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but you’ll never save all those starfish. Does it really make any difference what you’re doing?”

The little boy looked up from the starfish he held in his hand and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he replied, “It makes a difference to this one!”

Like the boy in the story, what you do with your life does make a difference to those around you. Jesus commissioned the people of the church to reach the world with the Gospel. The question is this: Will you make a difference with your life and be a part of what the church is supposed to do?

………………………

Article by Pastor Scott Wendal
Senior Pastor of Valley Forge Baptist

How Does Church Help Me?

A  lot of people say, “I want to be a Christian but I don’t need a church.” That’s like saying, “I want to play football in the NFL but not be on any team…. I want to be a soldier but not have a platoon…. I want to play a French horn but not be in an orchestra…. I want to be a sailor without a ship–a bee without a hive.” A Christian without a church family is an orphan. God told the Christians at Ephesus that they belonged together with other Christians in His church (see Ephesians 2:19). A church is not simply a place that you go to every week, but a family you belong to. God designed a church for His glory and our benefit.

How Does Church Help Me:

Five Benefits of a Bible-believing Local Church

1. It Helps Me Focus on God – Worship

Some days it is so easy to be distracted by “life” that we can go through the whole day and not even think about God. Sometimes we can forget about God because we might be too busy, too happy, too stressed, or too whatever. God gave us the 4th commandment: “Every seventh day, refocus on God!” Every time you refocus on God and express your love to God, you are worshiping. Jesus called loving God the greatest commandment (see Matthew 22:37–38). God loves you and He made you to love Him back.

2. It Helps Me Face Life’s Problems – Fellowship

Life is tough! It can be one problem after another! As a result, we all sometimes get discouraged, tired, fatigued, and drained. God never meant for you to go through life all by yourself. He wants you to have a church family for support. The Christian life is not a solo act. We draw strength from one another. Someone once said “A shared joy is a double joy; a shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” We all need fellowship.

3. It Helps Me Fortify My Faith – Maturity

“Fortify” means “to strengthen, to develop, to reinforce.” We have breakfast cereals that are fortified with vitamins. Toaster pastries are fortified with Vitamin A (so we can say they’re health food). A church family fortifies you and helps you clarify your values. It helps you set your priorities. It helps you figure out, what you really believe. A church family helps you develop character, conviction, and integrity. God says a church family is designed to help you grow and mature your faith.

4. It Helps Me Find my Ministry – Service

You weren’t put on earth just to take up space. God expects you to give something back. He expects you to make a contribution with your life. He gave you certain abilities, talents, and gifts that He expects you to use to help other people. Any time you use your talents or what you know to help somebody else, that’s called ministry. A “non-ministering” Christian is a contradiction. You were made for ministry. One day every Christian is going to stand before God and He is going to say, “What was your ministry? What did you do on earth to make a contribution to someone else?” A church family helps you discover and develop your ministry (see Ephesians 2:10).

5. It Helps Me Fulfill My Life Mission – Purpose

God has a grand purpose for your life. You were put on the earth for a reason God chose even before you were born. He chose exactly the parents to whom you would be born and where. All of these things you had no control over because He was making you for a mission. God created you for a purpose, and He says “I want you to fulfill it.” The moment you trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God activates your life mission. Part of your life mission is called the Great Commission – telling other people the good news about Jesus Christ.  Someone told you, and so you are to pass it on to others. God wants every Christian to be a messenger of God’s love to others.

I really do need a church… and my church needs me. Find a Bible-believing church family and say, “This is going to be my home.” No church is perfect, but nothing is more important than the church of Jesus Christ! If you do not have a church family that is fulfilling these five purposes, come be our guest.

 

Article by Pastor Scott Wendal
Senior Pastor, Valley Forge Baptist

Why Should I Go to Church?

A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard over 3,000 sermons. But, for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and so are the pastors.” This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

As a child, I attended a formal church that left me counting ceiling tiles and lights in the sanctuary. By the time I was in my early teens, my family had drifted from weekly attendance and I found myself wondering Why should I go to church? It wasn’t until I experienced the new birth (what Jesus called a “spiritual birth” in John 3:3-5) that I discovered that I don’t have to go to church – I get to go to church. When I made a commitment to become a Christian – a real Christian – my desires changed. I wanted to meet with those who gathered every week to worship the Lord of heaven and earth. It was as if the “hour of worship” went by so fast that I could not believe the service was over already. I wanted to learn God’s truth and apply it to my life. The apostle Peter said that a growing Christian hungers for the Word of God in the same way a newborn hungers for milk (I Peter 2:2).

What changed? I did! I was changed by the Lord. I had new desires, new commitments, and new goals. Now I can say with King David the Psalmist, who wrote, I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord (Psalm 122:1).

Who are these people who gather every week to worship a God who proclaims peace and love, freedom and justice, repentance and salvation? Local church congregations are not and never will be perfect, because they are made up of imperfect human beings. I like the bumper sticker that says “Christians Aren’t Perfect – Just Forgiven.” You may have had a disappointing experience with a particular church in your past, but that can never be a valid excuse to give up finding a biblically healthy church family. Being a Christian has nothing to do with finding a place that simply “makes me happy.” From the earliest days, Christianity has been about a church family that comes together to learn, worship, and grow while serving each other and modeling Christ to a watching world. Our goal is to live our lives in such a way that we “make Jesus look good to an unbelieving world.” When I go to church, I find encouragement and help to do just that.

Do you have a church you can call “Home”? If not, come and experience what some of your neighbors have experienced at the corner of Black Rock Road and Rt. 113: people who love God and others. If the greatest desire of the human heart is to love and be loved, then you will only find that desire met in a church where Jesus Christ is worshiped!

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. – Psalm 122:1

Article by Pastor Scott Wendal

Why I Love My Church!

Literally millions of people in the world can genuinely say, “I love my church!”  These people have experienced the blessing of a church family that loves God, exalts Jesus Christ, and shows love and forgiveness to one another.  It is among this kind of church family that people come to know the Lord as their personal Savior and begin to develop a spiritual walk with God.  The results are amazing:  peace in their lives and joy in their hearts.

Unfortunately, too many people have had negative experiences at church. Sometimes it is their fault, but all too many times it is the fault of another.

One Sunday morning, a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it was time to get ready for church, to which he replied, “I’m not going.”

“Why not?” she asked.

“I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said. “First of all, they don’t like me, and secondly, I don’t like them.”

His mother replied, “I’ll give YOU two good reasons why YOU SHOULD go to church. First of all, you’re 59 years old, and secondly, you’re the pastor!”

That is a sad situation when the pastor is not thrilled about attending his own church.  My experience has been just the opposite. After pastoring the same church for 29 years, I am thrilled to say, “I still love my church!” I agree with the many in our church who have shared their reasons with me about Valley Forge Baptist – The Caring Church!

They have said to me…

I love my church because…

God is at work here!

We are a family!

I learn how to grow closer to God!

Jesus Christ is exalted!

We feed the hungry and give them the Gospel!

I love the music!

I love the people!

Do you have a church you can call “home”?  If not, come and experience what some of your neighbors have experienced at the corner of Black Rock Road and Rt. 113: people who love God and others. If the greatest desire of the human heart is to love and be loved, then you will certainly find that desire met in a church where Jesus Christ is worshipped!

Article by Pastor Scott Wendal

5 Things Your Pastor Shouldn’t Tell You

GOOD WORKS GET YOU INTO HEAVEN

This is one of the most common misconceptions in religion today. So many people believe that if they are good enough – if their good outweighs their bad – they will be allowed into heaven. This is simply not the case. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” Ephesians 2:8-9. The Bible also says in Titus 3:5a, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…”

JESUS HATES BAD PEOPLE

Many people today believe that they are too bad to be saved. They think that they’ve done so many wrong things that God could never love people like them. Romans 5:8 states, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, it doesn’t matter to God what your personality is, what you look like, or what sins you’ve committed. God loves each and every person equally.

YOU CAN LOSE YOUR SALVATION

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” John 10:28. God won’t allow anyone or anything to remove a person from His hand, to take away that person’s salvation. That includes you. You can’t even do anything to cause Him to let you go. Ephesians 4:30b promises, “…whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

GOD CHOOSES WHO IS SAVEDDoes-God-Love-Everyone

Some people in certain religious circles believe that each person is predestined to be saved before he or she is ever born. They think that God picks certain people, based on no exact requirement, who can go to heaven and others who will go to hell. The Bible clearly says that “[W]hosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:13. The Bible also proclaims in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Salvation is a free gift to all who accept it. Notice the phrase “whosoever shall call.” Whosoever means anyone. It means YOU! You can call upon the Lord and accept Him as your Savior.

WHEN JESUS WILL RETURN

Many so-called “scholars” have tried to discern the “secrets” thought to be within the Bible about the return of Christ. For decades people have made various “numerical discoveries” in an attempt to claim the knowledge that God has never revealed, much less hidden: the time when Jesus will return. Never believe someone who purports to know the day Christ will come back to earth. Mark 13:32 declares, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” No one knows. No one ever will. What we need to concern ourselves with is, are we ready? When Jesus does decide to return, will He be coming for us? for you?

 

Article by Josh Berg
Josh serves on the Media team at Valley Forge Baptist. Previously he was Youth Director in Maryland. He additionally has a Bachelors in Religious Education from West Coast Baptist College.