The Role of the Church
6:54AM Jul 28, 2022
The church is God's basic institution for bringing change in a community.
Hi, friends, welcome back to another episode, or if this is your first time joining us, welcome to Ideas Have Consequences. On this podcast, we talked about how as Christians, our mission is to spread the gospel around the world to all the nations. But our mission also includes transforming the nations to increasingly reflect the truth, goodness and beauty of God's kingdom. Tragically, the church has largely neglected the second part of her mission and today, Christians have little influence on their surrounding cultures. Join us on this podcast as we rediscover what it means for each of us to disciple the nations and to create Christ honoring cultures that reflect the character of the living God.
Welcome again to Ideas Have Consequences, the podcast of the Disciple Nations Alliance. My name is Scott Allen, I'm the president of the Disciple Nations Alliance. And we've got a great show today, a really important topic that's right at the very heart of our calling in our ministry as the Disciple Nations Alliance. We're going to talk about the church, as I say, it's really at the heart, in some ways, of our calling. Maybe I can tell a little bit of the story, I guess, for those of you who don't know the story of the DNA and kind of how we got started. I'm, by the way, joined here today by Darrow Miller, by Tim Williams, Luke Allen, and Shawn Carson. Guys, hi. Welcome to the show, again.
It's good to be here.
Great to have you and look forward to this really wonderful discussion that we, by the way, are going to start today. We are not going to finish this discussion today because it's a big question. But let me just share for our listeners a little bit of the history, because I think this conveys why the church is so important for us as a ministry. And you know, obviously important for God and His heart, in his plan for the world. But we began as a ministry over 20 years ago, many of us were working in Food for the Hungry. And so our calling was, to the poor, to the marginalized, particularly to the hungry. And just really wanting to see those who are trapped in poverty, in really broken communities, wanted to see them being lifted up, set free and really beginning to flourish again, as Christians. That was our calling.
And as we got into this ministry, over the years, we noticed that there was a bit of a divide that was going on inside of the organization regarding the church. And it had to do with the mentality of the church around the world. And its view of its role in communities. Very often, we noticed that local churches had a very narrow, very small view of their role or their purpose in the world. So for example, they would say, "Hey, our purpose, as the church, as a local church, is to grow the local church, to bring people into church on Sunday, to witness, to see people saved." And certainly we would say, a hearty, "Amen." This is really important work. But what we noticed that they didn't have vision for, almost no vision, was the role of the church outside the walls of the church building, or in the larger community, particularly as it related to poverty and hunger.
So we saw this as a huge problem, because what would happen is relief and development organizations would come in and then reinforce this faulty understanding by saying something like this, (and it is an oversimplification,) but we would say to the leaders of the local church, or the members of the local body, let's say in an impoverished community in Africa, "Hey, you're right. You just focus on spiritual ministry. You focus on getting people into the church and witnessing and worshiping. We'll come in as a Christian nonprofit, and we'll take care of the poor in your community." And so we divided things up in that way.
And that's really why the DNA was birthed because the leadership of Food for the Hungry was convicted, I would say, by God, quite clearly and profoundly that that way of thinking was wrong. And that it was the ministry of the local church in the community, to be representing the kingdom of God, particularly with the broken and the marginalized and impoverished, and really in every area of that community. They needed to be on the frontlines of that. They need to be leading that. And so the leadership of Food for the Hungry said to Darrow and I and Bob, the founders, they said, we really need to help the church in local communities to kind of re-understand what its purpose is in the community, particularly regarding the poor, the hungry, the marginalized, and the oppressed. But really beyond that, just really being God's agent in the community to represent his kingdom. Because we really believe that once the church recovers that and takes its proper role... Somebody once explained it this way—the churches is to be God's NGO. They're there to primarily take up this role. And parachurches, like Food for the Hungry should support them in that, not take that away from them.
So we began really, again over 20 years ago, with a focus on churches, local churches and the body of Christ around the world, to try to help the church, in some ways, answer this question that we're going to talk about today. What is the church and what's its purpose? So this is really core to the heart of the DNA. And today, we want to begin to broach those questions. But before I do, Darrow, before we jump in, anything that you'd like to add, you are obviously there from the very beginning. In terms of the history of the DNA regarding the local church, any thoughts that you'd like to share on that?
Well, let me say, as you were talking about our discovering of the importance of the local church, and how the local church did not often see her role as God's NGO, I think that's the best way to say it.
NGOs, non-governmental organization, kind of nonprofit, if you will.
Or the church is God's private voluntary organization. God has raised up the church to represent him and the kingdom of God in the community. But the other thing that I think was critical for us at Food for the Hungry was to realize that it was a lack of a biblical worldview, both on the part of the organization, and the part of the local church. It was the lack of a biblical worldview that was also part of the issue that we needed to address. Because it is a biblical worldview that creates the framework for individuals, communities, and even nations to come out of poverty, and is the lack of a biblical worldview that creates barriers to people coming out of poverty. So it's both the role of the local church, and the local church being a God's private voluntary organization. And that comes from a biblical worldview, but not from a secular worldview, and not from an animistic worldview. It's the biblical worldview that helps us understand that the church is God's basic institution for bringing change in a community.
So it's the people of God and then it's this message, this message of the biblical worldview or biblical truth, that really is the catalyst for positive change. Because these are true ideas—they're powerful, true ideas—and the church is to know those, and reflect those, and speak those, and really be the ambassadors of those ideas in this broken world, for change. So exactly, Darrow, those are really core ideas to the heart of the DNA. We recognize that very often the church doesn't have a biblical worldview. It has this kind of truncated biblical worldview. This sacred/secular biblical worldview, or quasi biblical worldview that was really preventing it from doing its work in communities, keeping it on the sidelines, if you will. And we just really felt a calling from God to help change that, to change this understanding of what the church is and what its mission is.
And Scott, you just used the word ambassador, and that's would be something to say to those listening—the church is the embassy of the Kingdom of God. So we speak of ambassadors, but the church is the embassy and in every community where there is a local church, there is to be an embassy of the Kingdom of God.
Absolutely, I think this embassy picture is really a helpful one in terms of what is the church, the identity of the church. Because—and it's helpful too, because it puts it in the context or the framework of the kingdom of God, right? So it's a kingdom, right? And it's God's Kingdom, where he rules and reigns and where his will is perfectly done. In a fallen world, this is where you've got this kingdom of darkness, if you will. You've got this kind of satanic realm where God's will isn't done. But we're to be in that fallen world, as ambassadors, as members of this embassy of God's kingdom, in order to do the will or to reflect the purposes of the kingdom of God, of the nation from which we come. So I just think that's a really helpful understanding, both of identity but also purpose of the church.
Well, guys, let's get into this. I think that in some ways, we still are facing a lot of challenges in terms of just average, everyday Christians understanding of this really vital topic of what is the church? What's the purpose of the church? If you can't get this one clear, all sorts of problems come as a result. So it's really hard to answer this very clearly and having a clear understanding of this, in our minds is, I think, really, really vital around the world. It continues to be today.
Let's talk a little bit about just answering, I'd like to hear from each one, when you think of this question, what is the church? What are the things that come to your mind? What are some of the passages that really get to the core of the identity of the church? And again, I'd like to kind of go around and hear from everyone on this question. Before we get to purpose—and they're very closely connected—but I do want to just talk about what is the church, before we talk about why the church exists, or why God raised up the church. So who would like to get us started on that? Tim, how about you?
Sounds great. Yeah.
And by the way, let me before—Tim, let me just interject. Tim Williams, we're obviously all members of the church. We're members of local churches but Tim has actually been a pastor as well, at a local church. So I think that's kind of helpful context. So.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, as we were preparing for this, one of the things that we were discussing was this role of consumerism that is so deep in the common popular culture, especially. It's hitting the younger generations in a powerful way. And so, the question in that context is, I'm gonna go to church if the church does something for me. If they're meeting my needs... And of course, that's not what we see in the Scriptures as the role of the church. The role of the church is the community of believers. And we all have a role to play in that. Not to steal anybody else's thunder, but if I had to mention one more thing, it would be, of course, that the church is believers across time and space. It's across national borders. It's across economic borders. It's across denominations, young and old, race and gender. I love that about the church. It unifies believers in a world of increasing divisions.
So it's the people of God that span all of those divides and barriers, but it's this community or people, Tim, is what I'm hearing you emphasize there.
Hi, friends, thanks again for listening to this episode of Ideas Have Consequences brought to you by the Disciple Nations Alliance. As we mentioned earlier, the church is really at the heart of our ministry at the DNA. Therefore, if you'd like to take a biblical worldview look at what the church is and its role in God's plan for the nations, we have a long list of resources that we could point to you from our ministry, or the ministries that we have partnered with in our alliance. But for now, I'm just going to highlight three of those resources. I would start by reading a paper by our vice president Dwight Vogt titled "The Unique Role of the Local Church and the Development of Flourishing Communities." If a paper isn't dense enough for you, Darrow Miller's popular book, "Lifework, a Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day," practically explains how we can live up the church wherever we are or whatever we're doing. Finally, this resource is probably one of the most practical free online training courses I have ever taken, and one that I would recommend to any Christ follower who wants to live out their faith beyond the walls of the church building, and specifically at their work. It's called "Monday Church. Our daily work for the service of man, the blessing of nations and the glory of God." You can find out more about all of these resources on this episode's landing page, which you can easily find by clicking the link down in the show notes below.
I think it's interesting because the believers or followers of Jesus were first called Christians in the book of Acts. They were considered the church then. So I think it's important to think about where we came from, and what was the foundation of where we got our calling, where we got our beginning as the people of God. So the church is a group of people who are following Jesus, right? And He's our leader, he's our teacher, he's our example, and he's our commander. So we look to him to give us an understanding about life, how it's lived, how we should live our lives, how we should interact with each other, how should we engage with the world around us? And then we try to live that up with the power of the Holy Spirit within us. And that's, to me like one of the most basic understandings of what the church is.
Right, Shawn, yeah.
What I'm hearing in all of this is that the church is a people. And, of course, the Bible is very organic this way. It speaks to the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. These are all organic, relational concepts. And I think that is fundamental to the understanding of what the church is. And I think it's important to say what the church is not. The church is not a building. And we tend to think of the church as a building. "I go to the church," over, "I go to the church up in Cave Creek." We actually meet at... it's called the Church at the Chip. And it's a church that meets at a saloon in Cave Creek. And for years, we went to the Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church. And the image when I think of both of those are the buildings. And I think for most of us, when we think of the church, we think of the place that we go. That's the church. So we'll say, "we're gonna go to church on Sunday at 9am." Or "We're gonna go to the church on Wednesday night at 6pm, for a prayer meeting." And when we use this language, we're speaking of the church as a building where you do things. But I think the emphasis from everybody who's spoken here is the church is a people, and the people could meet in a warehouse, in a home. When I was in Thailand, I met with two families that met on a bamboo platform in the middle of a rice paddy. The bamboo platform was not the church, it was those people that were gathered on the bamboo platform. So I think it's really important that we make a distinction between the place where people meet, thats obviously a physical space of some kind and the church. Because it's the church, the people are the church, not the place that they meet.
What we should think about when we think of the church—what is the church—we should think about the church first and foremost as the people. This is what I define as the people of God. It's the people that God has chosen. Often it talks in terms of family. We've been adopted into the family of God or brought into His kingdom. Now we're citizens. That's another metaphor. We're citizens of his kingdom. We're adopted as His children. We're part of this global body. But the Bible talks very clearly about how that global body, the people of God, are to meet together. In fact, that's what the word "church" means. I think it means the gathering. And we're to meet locally. So that this is where the local church comes into play. And this local gathering of the church often happens in buildings, but it doesn't have to happen. Sometimes it happens under trees or wherever.
But there's a gathering, a local gathering that we are to participate in, because that's how we, in a sense, function as a body. That's another metaphor for the church as the Body of Christ. And this idea of the body is that everyone has a role to play. We have gifts and we bring those into the body so that we can strengthen that body and then we can be strengthened by it as well. You can only do that in a local type of expression. So the way I would say it, Darrow, is that the church can't be reduced to the building. Okay. Maybe a building is important for a local expression of the church, but you can't reduce the church to a building or a day of the week, like a Sunday. Because the church is the people of God, on mission, in a sense, to do the work of the church all the time, you know, not just on a particular day of the week. So I think that that there is confusion there. And it's important to get get some clarity there.
You know, for me guys, when I think of the church—I love history. So I like to go back to the history, the biblical history and trace church back, all the way back to the beginning in some ways, where back in Genesis chapter one and two and three, you see God's perfect purposes and creation, then you see the fall, and then God sets out on this redemptive mission, basically. He's going to take everything that's been broken and disrupted through the fall, and he's going to set it right again. And that plan of his, that purpose of his, goes all the way through history, and it's going to be achieved or consummated at the end of time when he comes back again. So history is really this history of God working in the world to achieve his purposes, and his purposes of reconciling all things.
And then he does this through a particular plan, if you will, a way that he's going to do this. And he's going to do it through a people. And in the Old Testament, that people was the Jewish nation. And God chose Abraham. He chose Isaac, Jacob and a nation of people. And he made a covenant with them. A covenant means, its like a marriage vow. He basically said, I'm going to commit myself to you fully, and you're going to—the phrase that gets used over and over is, I will be your God and you will be my people. There's this deep marriage commitment, covenant, that God's making with the people. But not because he thinks, hey, I'm gonna ignore the rest of the world. The rest of the world doesn't matter. I'm just going to make a special covenant with this one nation and kind of forget everyone else. No, he's going to choose these people. He's going to bless them, they're going to reflect what it means to worship the one true God to live in obedience to His law and his ordinances for the purpose of the rest of the world. They're going to be a model nation for the rest of the world.
And you see this, for example, in a passage like if Exodus 19:5-6. This is where the Jewish people have been set free from slavery in Egypt, and now they've come to Mount Sinai and God's gonna make this covenant with them, and establish this covenant. And he says to Moses, representing Israel, "If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations, you will be my treasured possession. You will be my people, my treasured possession, although the whole world is mine." I love that. In other words, "I care about all the nations. They're all important to me. The whole world is mine. You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." These are the words here to speak to the Israelites. In other words, "I'm going to bring you out of the world, call you my people, bless you, so that you can be a priest." This is the purpose here.
Priests are ones that represent. You think that the traditional role of the priests, they are an intermediary between God and the people that don't know God. And here's Israel to be this kingdom of priests that makes God known to a fallen world. And I think Israel at its best in the Old Testament was doing that. It was representing God to the world. Well, then you get to the New Testament and you get this big change. This is the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Now, the God's purpose isn't hasn't changed. He's still has a people, and he's going to do his work through that people, that chosen people, but now we Gentiles, non Jews, get grafted into that plan and purpose through Christ. But the purpose is still the same and you see that reflected. In the New Testament, for example, in first Peter 2:9-10, very clearly where Peter—now speaking to the church, this is Jews and Gentiles—uses almost exactly the same languages as Exodus 19. He says, "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation." He's talking about all of us who are part of the church.
And by the way, I think this is also really, really key. Church is a people have put their faith in Jesus Christ and have trusted in his finished work on the cross. Then we've been adopted into God's family. So, "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation—" And here's the purpose "—so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." In other words, you've been called out of the world to be a holy nation, so that you can then go and proclaim to the nation the reality of the living God. So to me that that history is really important and current in terms of understanding who is the church.
Can I clarify something?
We're called out of the world. But that means we're called out of the world system. We're not called out of the world, in the sense of "out of the world into a building." We're called clarifying out of the world system, to a new—and I put this in quotes—"a new system." It's the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is to be in the world, but not of the world's system. So yes, we're called out of the world system into something new and radical .This is a radical calling. And the kingdom of God is a radical Kingdom. It turns everything upside down, or better said, the kingdom of God turns everything right side up again. So it is a calling out of the world system, into the kingdom of God, and then the kingdom of God is to be manifested in the world.
Yeah, in fact, Darrow, the passage that gets it this so clearly as Jesus himself in his priestly prayer in John 17. He's speaking here, he's praying to God, but he's praying about his followers, his people, the church. He says, "I've given them your word and the world has hated them because they're not of the world." You're talking about the difference here between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. Jesus has given His truth to his people. And what's been the response of the fallen world? They've hated them, just like they hated Christ. But then he goes on, and he says, "They're not of the world, just as I am not of the world." But then here's the key verse, "I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one." So God's called us to be in the world, in the fallen world, as representatives. This gets back to the ambassadors role, as representatives or ambassadors of his kingdom in a fallen world, where we can expect to be hated. Because it's so radically different, right? The message we have is so radically different from this fallen world.
The message we proclaim, and it should also be that our lifestyles are radically different. It's how we live and what we say, are radical. And offensive to the world system.
Yeah, we talked about this a couple of weeks ago. Now, one of the challenges that the church, particularly in the West, is facing is it's having a hard time accepting the idea that no matter how nice or winsome you are, you're not going to be liked by the fallen world. Because message that you should be proclaiming is going to essentially sound like scratching your fingernails on a chalkboard to a fallen world. They're not going to accept that. Do we own that? Can we say, I'm ready to accept that reality, that this is such a counter cultural message that I'm willing to be misunderstood and even hated because of what I'm saying here. I think it's really important, especially in the West, as the West is becoming increasingly dark. Are we willing to cling to that countercultural message and represent that? So yeah.
It's interesting, because Christ as a person and then his message, but then his method was, God sent his very own son to live amongst us, to show us—we say he came to incarnate God. So I think the church, that's what we're called to do. We're called to incarnate what Christ has done. And the thing that brings me a lot of confidence and peace is knowing that this isn't the gospel, according to Shawn. This is a gospel according to Christ, according to Jesus, who was the savior of the world. Who is the one who created all things, and to whom all things hold together by him. So our message is his message. If it becomes my message, then that's really not very good news. But as long as I'm staying true to the message of Jesus, it is good news. And it's the good news that that he is proclaimed.
And I think, the more that we study the life of Christ, and who he was, what he did, what was his message, what was his ways, then—and we tried to say, oh, Lord, have your way within me. Make me like that. That's what Christian means is little Christ. To eliminate or to try to reflect on our brokenness and fallenness, the ways in the will of God, into the world that we live in. But I think it's easy to get sidetracked because we think, well, but we want to be friendly. We want people to like us. That's the ways of the world, right? And Christ had a lot of friends, but everybody wasn't his friend. And I think that's where I wrestled. You know, I wrestle with all those things all the time, just trying to figure out, how do you love people who don't want to be loved by you? You know? And how do you share with them a message that they may not even want to hear? But you know, Christ is my mentor. He's the one that shows me what that looks like and what that means. But that isn't always encouraging either, because he wasn't always accepted.
Oh, that's right. And because he wasn't always accepted. Neither will we be. Shawn, you're saying a couple of things. I think you're adding new things into our conversation that are really important. You used this theological word "incarnation", right? Or "incarnate," maybe it would be good for us just talk briefly about that the church has to incarnate Christ. What does that mean? What would you know? What are you getting out there? Is that something that we talked about at the DNA quite a bit?
Well, even Jesus says, if you've seen me, you've seen the Father. So He is the embodiment of and the expression of God himself, and in our fallenness, but in our regeneration, not just our fallenness—but the fact that his Holy Spirit lives within us, has forgiven us, and is doing a work of regeneration—we are to incarnate the message of Christ and the ways of Christ in the world, which we're to be a reflection of that. We're to be the embodiment of that message and those ways.
To make it visible. In other words, you can see in the same way that Jesus made the invisible God visible. That's what it means to incarnate something, is to make it visible, to make it real, tangible. In the same way that Jesus coming in flesh—again, that's what it means to incarnate, to come in the flesh—in the same way that Jesus did that, as a representative of God, the Father, the triune God, then we are to do the same with Jesus himself. We're to work to make him, his reality, visible in the communities where we live. And God does at work in us as well, right? I mean, part of what it means to be the church, this gets to identity again, is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit of Christ, and to be increasingly made to be like Christ, so that we can be the visible expression of Jesus in this broken world. And as you said, we can certainly, to the degree that we're doing that, we can expect to be treated in the same way that Jesus was, for good and bad.
There's a book that many of us at the DNA have read by Rodney Stark called "The Rise of Christianity." And Starks was a sociologist, PhD sociologist, and he had a burning question. He was an atheist sociologist, and he had a burning question. If there's no God, and there's no miracles, how do you account for the rise of Christianity, and he saw Christianity as the most profound sociological movement of all time. So he recognized that as a sociologist, that profoundness of what Christianity brought to the world. But if you are an atheist, and there's no God and no miracles, how do you explain this? And that's what the book "The Rise of Christianity" is about. And towards the end of the book, he says two things, there's two basic things that allowed or created the framework for the rise of Christianity. One was that the Christians had a better set of ideas than the Romans. And part of that was, they believed in the God who is the creator of the universe, and that God of the Universe brought a certain way of thinking into the world. And the second thing he said was that the church incarnated the Word of God. And he made the point, it wasn't just that Christ incarnated the Word of God. But the church made flesh, the things that she believed. And this was what led to the rise of Christianity. And of course, Stark's own studies led him to study more about the church and Christianity. And towards the end of his life, he went from an atheist to a theist, and from a non Christian to a Christian, because of the testimony. But what was the core? It was a better set of ideas that were incarnated through the lives of the Christians in a broken world.
And let me—because it's such a powerful example Darrow—I'd like to get specific on one of the things that Stark highlights here, because it's just such a powerful illustration of this question of what is the church? What's the role of the church and the power of these ideas? Stark talks about the plagues that swept through ancient Rome, and this is obviously, in this era of COVID, something I think we can relate to. So there was plagues, horrible diseases that spread through the Roman Empire. The ideas that the Romans had, these were nonbelievers, non Christian Romans, when it came to other people, well, you know, they didn't have a particularly high view of other people, especially women and slaves and these kinds of people. They were almost inhuman. So if they got sick, or they got diseased and died, you almost didn't care. You just let them die. I mean, that's ideas have consequences, right? And that was the consequence of those ideas or you fled from them, you let them die.
Or you threw them out on the street.
You threw them out on the street. That was the tangible expression of those ideas. Here comes these new Christians with this radical new set of ideas and they look at these very same people and they see something very different. They see people that are made in God's image, that he loves, and that he died—here's the incarnated part—he died, he gave his life for, in order to say that's how much he loved them. And now these Christians said, we need to be this visible representation of Christ in this situation. So what their ideas did, what it led to, the consequences, we're going to go and we're going to minister to these slaves and women and these underclass, lower class people, because they're the people of God, right? That we don't recognize these distinctions anymore. These are God's people that he created, that he loves, that he died to redeem. And we're going to minister to them. And if we die in the process, then that's going to be even a more powerful representation of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, because that's what he did. And then they did. Many of them did die. Well, the witness to the non-believing Roman world of watching all of this, just sitting back and looking at this, again, this thing becoming visible, they're literally looking at this or going, those are better ideas. Those are powerful ideas. Those are true ideas, those are good ideas, and many of them became Christians. And this is one of the reasons that Rome went from being a pagan nation to a Christian Empire or group in short order.
Well, and part of this too, Scott. Historians have looked at the early church, and what they did during these plagues. And they said, these Christians gave the world its humanity. They recognized the people who were thrown out as human beings, and they treated them as human beings. And they were even willing to die for them to save them from the plague. And they gave the world its humanity, that is a profound observation and statement. This is the radicalness of the biblical faith.
So I think this is really a question we want to put to everyone listening today is, how are we, in the context that we live in today, representing the reality of the full humanity of the people around us, in the same way that these early Christians did in Rome? How can we be doing that same thing? Because that's who we are and that's what we're here for. That really is our purpose to incarnate, or to manifest, or to reflect Christ in a broken world. One of the things that I love about the church is that it gives us a whole new understanding of who we are, right?
In this fallen world, you've got all sorts of ways that people think about one another. And usually it's hierarchical, right? Good/bad, higher/lower, fully human/less than fully human. You can think about the abortion debate, for example. We're always dehumanizing some group that we find inconvenient. But the Bible says no, everyone's a creation of God and they have dignity and rights. And they're loved and they're precious. And as we become representatives of that, we become part of God's body. We relate to each other in a whole new way. That isn't as higher/lower, good/bad. It's as brothers and sisters, right? Francis Schaeffer, said, Darrow, there's no little people in the church, right? We're all, in a sense, we're all equal. We're all redeemed children of God. And now we relate to each other as members of a family, as brothers and sisters in Christ. Pretty powerful.
Yeah, I think that goes back to what you started with Scott, where our identity is. I mean, because it's easy to get our identity and our purpose mashed together, because out of our identity comes our purpose, and then that becomes what we do. But I think that's another really strong expression of who we are. In our identity, is that we are people who support and adhere to life giving doctrines. Christ came to give us life and as a body of followers, that's what we are to do. We are to advocate for life, for the flourishing, the betterment, the advancement, the development of life, for all people. And I think that's just such a core of who our identity we are, as followers of Christ. As the church, that is our identity. Now you can't even talk about that without talking about what we do. So they're very interconnected, but I think that that's a key element of who the church really is, and our identities is we're life. We believe in life, we see that it is a gift from God. We support it, we live to advance it, even even at the expense of our own life.
And just to add to this, I mean, yes, that is really our mission as Christians, to incarnate Jesus and to be little Christ to the world. But then, I mean, we're adding into this right now, but just to simplify what you guys are saying, in a way, the role of the church then is to strengthen that. God knows as fallen human beings, we need community. We need to be in community in the body of believers.
The role of the local church.
Sorry, yeah, the role of the local church—gathering, encouraging. During that time in Rome, when the church had to make that extremely brave and courageous stance for life, I'm sure they were gathering and they were talking about it, and they were pointing each other towards, what would Christ do in this situation. And because of that, they would go out, and they would go into the streets and save people. So that role of the local church then, is that time of encouragement and really, of community. I think of a sports analogy—Christians, if we want to be at our a game, we can't just go practice alone. We need to go and be a part of the team and go practice as a team. You're going to be a better player, in that case. You're going to have more of an influence in the game, or for us, in the kingdom.
So I just think another one, what is not the church... It's not the building, we covered that earlier. The church is also not just worship music and then preaching. The church is a community. You need to be together, encouraging each other as a family. In the local church that is so important. I remember during COVID, when most churches were shut down, one day, I was at a bike shop, listening to a sermon while I was working on a bike, and I just thought to myself, this isn't the church. This isn't the church at all, this is just training. And I think in our hyper individualistic culture, where we're consumers, and it's all about speed and efficiency, popping in your ear buds and listening to a sermon, we check off, oh, I went to church this week. That's not church at all. That is such a dangerously wrong view, and one that we can cover today or in future talks on this on this concept as well.
You're talking about the role of the local church here, Luke, and I'd like to pick that up because I think this is really important. And the Bible talks about church as both the people of God, the children of God, the adopted children of God, with Jesus as the head, right? As the Lord, right? He's our Lord. He's our King. But it also talks about the church in terms of a local expression of that church. Especially you see this in Revelation, or in the New Testament, you see the church in Philippi, or the church and Colossae, and Paul is raising up leaders, elders, to be leaders of a local church. So there's both of those, and I think it'd be worth kind of fleshing that out further, because I do think there's a lot of confusion today about the church as a people, and the church in terms of its local expression and the purpose of the local church.
I just want to add one more thought, though, before we get to that, just in terms of, we talked about the church, and the purpose of the church to be in the world, to be representing the kingdom of God and the world. And one of my favorite passages in the New Testament, when it talks about the identity of the church, is this passage where Peter confesses that Jesus is Lord and then Jesus turns around and says, "Peter upon this rock," that's Peters name, Peter the rock, "On this rock, I'm going to build my church." So Jesus—this is one of the few times he actually uses the word church, if I'm not mistaken, Jesus himself—but he says, "I'm going to build my church." Jesus is the builder of the Church. It's his body, he is building it. I'm going to build my church.
But then this part is so powerful to me, "And the gates of hell, or Hades will not overcome it." Right away, Jesus puts church into the context of warfare here, because when we talk about gates, we're talking about battles and offense and defense in a warfare type of situation. And here you see the gates of hell, you have Satan behind those gates, and the church here is in this position of pushing on those gates. It's going to push, it's on offense, and it's going to push back the gates of darkness and those gates are going to fall. And I just say all that because I think very often we have this idea of the church is in this defensive crouch in this fallen world, and Satan's winning and we just need to kind of hang on until Jesus comes back, right? But I think Jesus has a totally different view of the church. He's like, this is my people, I'm working through it, I'm building it. To take the kingdom into this dark, fallen world and Satan is going to lose. He's on defense, and he's going to lose against the Bride of Christ. I just think that, to me is very powerful in terms of who we are and what, what our purpose is, as well. So.
I have a friend in... not a friend, an acquaintance. I've known her for one week in my life, when I was visiting Australia. Her name is Tish, and fairly radical Christian lady. And she said, the church knows how to make nice Christians, but doesn't know how to make dangerous Christians. And what you've just described, Scott, Satan is standing behind the gates of hell, and who's on the offense? God's people are on the offense. We are to take the good news to the very gates of hell. What are those dark places? What are those hard places, in our communities, in our cities? The church is to be there. And she used to be there on the offense. And she is to be ministering to broken people in those places. She's to be storming the gates of those places, challenging them, and bringing through their lives, the kingdom of God into those dark places.
Absolutely. Darrow, I'd like to get back to Luke's question about the purpose of the local church, the local gathering of the church. For example, I attend a church in Phoenix called Shiloh Community Church, and I attend there on Sundays, and I'm a part of that body. I'm part of small groups in that church, I'm on the elder committee or elder board of that church. That's part of my identity as being a part of a local church. Darrow, how would you answer the question, what is the purpose of the local church specifically? These would be the overall purpose of the church that we've been talking about the body of believers.
Well, the way I would describe it, it is a body. And the body gathers on Sunday, for corporate worship and for equipping. The pastor's role is to equip the church for ministry, to prepare the church for ministry. That's the Sunday church. But the church is not just the church on Sunday. She's the church on Monday. And at the DNA, we use that language. We talk about the Sunday church and the Monday church. And it's important, if we do nothing else, if the people listening to the podcast today, do nothing else but start to use the language, Monday church, Monday church. Because we're the church when we're scattered in the community, not just when we are gathered at whatever our place is for worship. And I think that's the important thing. We are scattered in the community to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ there. To...
Absolutely, Darrow, yeah.
... represent Christ and His Kingdom in those places. So if you work at a school, do you consciously think of yourself, not just as a moral force in that school as a teacher, but as somebody representing the virtues and values of the kingdom of God in that place? If you're working in a hospital, maybe they do abortions in the hospital? Do you just go along with that? Or do you say no, we're to be a culture of life here in this hospital?
Absolutely. Darrow, the church has a whole different way of doing things. We're to do things in alignment or in accordance with God's kingdom and the truths of God's Kingdom, the principles, the ways of doing things. And we're to do those in every area of society, right? Wherever God's called us or he's deployed us, in business, in education, in entertainment, or wherever it is. Or in a family as a homemaker, or wherever God has deployed you, that's where you're to be that representative, and then the local church's job is really, in many ways, to equip you to do that work.
And this is, I think, Darrow, I think you're saying two things that are really important. We have work, the Bible talks about good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do, right? God has prepared good works for us to do in every area of society. This gets to one of the misconceptions that the church has, this higher/lower, sacred/secular idea. That these non church parts of life, business, economics, politics, etc, aren't really important to God or His Word doesn't apply. Or if we as Christians are working in those areas, we're just there to maybe earn some money, or be like you said, maybe, moral, honest people. But beyond that, we don't really have any role to play in those secular fallen areas.
No, God's redeeming all of those things. He's called us to be His ambassadors in those areas. And then the church is to, the local church, the key role of local churches, as it says in Ephesians, I believe it is, to equip the saints for ministry. And this is one thing even, I love my church, but I think this is something we could do a whole lot better at in my local church. Very often, I think there's a misconception on the part that's kind of perpetuated by leaders of the local church, too often, when they think of equipping saints for ministry, they tend to think of ministry in the local church. That comes to their mind first. So Sunday school, whatever the ministry, wherever the programs or the local church are, that's what they're going to be equipping people to do. There's almost no equipping for them to do the work of the church, outside the building or outside of Sundays. What does it really mean to be a an ambassador of Jesus Christ as a businessman? And I think this is a huge amiss right now, misconception and amiss, because if you look at any local church—again, I could use my church as an example. I love my church, and my pastor is fantastic—but we've got representatives in Shiloh that span leadership and influence in almost every area of society in Phoenix. But if we don't see the people as—
—Christians on Monday—
—Christians on Monday, God's people in those areas, and my job is to equip them to do that. it's a miss. Because we're not having the influence that we could have, that God's called us to have. So I think this is one of the bigger misconceptions that I'd like to challenge here, any pastors, elders, leaders of local churches that are listening. We've got to equip our people for ministry, to do the work that God's called them to do where they're at. Not to minimize that, hey, I know we need people to volunteer and help out and local churches for the work that that goes on there on Wednesdays and Sundays, and other times. But we can't reduce it to that, for sure.
Let me tell you a story that helps understand this. I met a man one time who was a wealthy businessman, lived in California, but he had businesses in California and in other parts of the country. And one of the businesses that he had was in downtown Detroit and he had a meat packing plant there. And it was part of what helped make him wealthy. And he had the meatpacking plant in downtown Detroit because labor prices were depressed and he could get workers cheaply. And then he read my book "Lifework," and was challenged by the very things that we're talking about now. What does it mean to be a Christian on Monday and not just on Sunday? He was a Christian on Sunday. Went to church regularly, part of the leadership, elder leadership of the church But he was a Christian on Sunday but didn't think as a Christian on Monday until he read "Lifework."
And he realized that he needed to change how he was running his business in Detroit. And so he did a number of things. Number one, he began to ask the people that worked for him in Detroit, how can we improve this business? He started treating them more as human beings than as part of the machinery. The second thing he did, he immediately raised their wages. So the wages were really more commensurate with the work they were doing. And third, he committed a percentage of the profits from the company to be reinvested in the neighborhood, the poor neighborhood in downtown Detroit, where his meat processing factory was.
This is what it means to be the Monday church. It's what it means to be a Christian on Monday. What does it mean—whether I'm working in a hospital, school, a factory, no matter where I'm working—what does it mean for me to be an ambassador of Christ in this place? How do I have to change the way I do my work? How do I have to change the way I run my business? Because I'm an ambassador of Christ. It's a very set a different set of questions. And they can be very threatening questions. Because it may be making changes that are drastic changes in your work environment.
And back to the local church, Darrow, how, if I'm a leader of a local church, how do I equip the people that are part of our church here that I'm interfacing with every week? How do I equip them to do what that meatpacking person was doing? Am I doing that? How am I doing that?
Well again you have to give them a vision for the church being the church on Monday?
Something I picked up from from both of you guys, and from being a part of DNA is, God's thoughts on whatever the subject is, on X subject, so we're talking about the church, what is—I think, one challenge or encouragement that I take personally is, what is my theology of the church? Now that may sound like an oxymoron to some people, but like, what does God say about the church? Do I know what he says about the church? What is the church called to be? Who are we? What's our identity? And what are we called to do? And then Darrow, I think what you're saying also is, in the church, as a businessman, what's God's theology? What is the theology of business? Or what's the theology of healthcare?
And I think to me that's enlivening to me because it makes me think, Oh, you mean, God actually has an idea about business? God has an idea about healthcare? God has an idea of the church? And then where do I find that? And then I go to his word, and then I discover that with him and asked him to lead me and guide me, to show me what that looks like. And to me that ideas just revolutionized my understanding of God's Word and how it applies to our lives, to every area of our lives. And then how I'm equipped to figure that out. I have the Spirit, I have his word, I can go and figure that out for myself. And then I can help others, I can help equip other people to think the same way. That's really exciting to me.
And if I could add on to that, the church has not—I think, in the West, for the last 100 years, done a really poor job at this. And there's reasons historically that we've stopped doing this kind of equipping, and thinking about what is the church and what's our role? And we've paid a huge price for that. So for example, let's just take business as one example. If Christians don't see themselves as ambassadors, representing Christ in His Kingdom, as business people in business and if churches aren't equipping them to do that, it's not like business just runs, right? Somebody's going to be defining what it means to be a business, how we do business, and if it's not the church, it's going to be the fallen world. So to the degree that we are not doing that somebody is.
And so we've lived for 100 years where the church is kind of backed out of doing this kind of work. And we find ourselves now we look everywhere, we look at our systems of education and business, and you name it. Government, politics, and it's like, what a mess? As Oz Guinness says, he has his people where he wants them, but they're not being his people where they're at. We've just stopped representing Him and His Kingdom in those places. We just haven't had a vision for it. And the churches aren't equipping the people to do it. And so if there's a lot of bad stuff happening, I think, in the culture, in some ways, we have to go back to the church and say, it's because we're not doing our job as His people. We've kind of quit, we've got to start doing it again.
This is where, again, from the pulpit, the pastor has an opportunity every Sunday to create a vision for the Christians of what the purpose of the church is, and what their purpose is on Monday, not just on Sunday. He has the ability to create that vision for the people and then he has the ability to introduce the concept of their thinking theologically about their work. Whatever the work is, it could be forestry, it could be construction, it could be healthcare, could be education, it could be politics. But it's not just being a Christian on Sunday, and then following the world's pattern of politics, or business, or education, or health care. It's being a Christian on Monday, and beginning to study the Word of God to see what it has to say about your vocation.
I remember I was teaching in Japan one time. And I had this young woman come up to me who I think she was in her early 30s. And she said "Darrow, thank you so much." I was teaching on "Lifework," and biblical theology of vocation. And she came up to me and said, "Darrow, thank you for what you've taught today. I've never heard a pastor or a Christian teach what you've said today." And she said, "When I was a freshman at the University, and I was a Christian, I was studying city planning. And during my devotions one morning, I saw that God was building a city. And I thought, If God is interested in cities, I wonder what the Bible has to say about cities?" So she spent her devotional time for several years reading through the Bible with the question, "What does God have to say about cities? What makes a good city what makes a city habitable? What makes us city that crushes people? What makes a good city? What makes a bad city?" And at the end of that time, she'd go into the classroom, and she had her books in one hand on city planning, but she had her notebook from her study of Scripture in the other hand, and so she was always dealing in the classroom, not just what the teacher was teaching her, what the books were saying, but critiquing those things by what she was learning from the Word of God. That should be the normal practice.
I think, Darrow, for the reformers, when we think of the early reformers, they were really good at this. And going to God's word and mining at it. The way I like to think of it is mining gold. And the gold were the principles from the Bible for how you do all of these things, whether it's agriculture, business, city planning. They were really good. We've lost that as a practice. Now we go to the Word of God and we use it in terms of training for personal holiness. Well, that's good. That's good. But we've lost this ability to go and mine the Word of God for principles that apply to all of life, like you're talking about. We have to get back to that and again, if you're a pastor or leader of a local church that's listening, this is a real application for you to evaluate yourself. How are you doing? Are you teaching your people to be the people of God where they're deployed? Are you equipping them for ministry in those areas, helping them to mine the scriptures for principles so that they can really effectively have that kind of impact?
But not just ministry in the spiritual sense, right? That's part of the the key here. What does it mean? What are the biblical principles of economics that I can apply in my business? What are the biblical principles of health care that should guide me in my work at the hospital? It's not just ministry in the sense that we normally think of ministry, it's vocational ministry. It's working my vocation. What are those principles that feed in to the work that I do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday?
Exactly. And I think for leaders of local churches, obviously, it's important the role of the local church. But boy, we don't want to be sending the message to the people that are a part of that local congregation that the most important ministry is the ministry that happens here in the building. And you need to figure out a way of plugging into that and getting connected to it. That's the most important thing.
And I think another thing local churches, I just want to challenge people on is, I think right now, very much the emphasis is on the full time leaders of the church. They're the ones that have the really critical role to play in the work of the church. And the people that aren't in full time Christian ministry, the lay people, if you will, play supporting roles. And we need to turn that completely around and see the people in the pews, the people that are part of the church are really on the front line.
And the people that are ministers, the leaders of the church, are really in the supporting role to help them to do the work that God's called them to do.
Excellent, Scott. Excellent.
We need to help turn that around. I want to—guys, we need to wrap this up—I want to touch on one more point. And again, we're going to come back to this subject again, because there's so much to unpack here, and we just really are scratching the surface. But we've been talking here a little bit about the local church and the leaders of the local church and their role. But I want to talk about another challenge, a problem that we're seeing a lot of, especially in the West today. And Luke, you alluded to this with COVID. And I noticed this, especially with younger Christians, they're just not attending church right now. And they're they're not attending a local body. And they're quite comfortable with that. During COVID, again, people could just watch online. there. And now they don't really feel a qualm, a lot of people, about not being a part of a local church. And that's part of a larger cultural trend about people just living much more isolated, autonomous lives. They're not plugging in to all sorts of things. There's that famous sociological book that came out about 10 years ago called Bowling Alone, right? And people, people are just living much more isolated lives than they used to. And that includes not being involved in local churches. So how would you guys respond to the person that saying, "That church doesn't really have anything for me. It doesn't matter to me. I don't like what they're doing. I don't need to be a part of it. I'm part of the body of Christ, right? I don't need to attend a local church." How would you respond to that kind of thought? I'm picking on you, Tim, but anyone can respond. Go ahead there. Yeah.
Sure, sure. You know, a popular Bible verse that sticks in my mind as you ask that particular question is, from Hebrews chapter 10, verses 24 and 25. It says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching." So I just take that encouragement from the author of Hebrews. I think, as we reflect on just the theology of human nature and our sin nature, we are imperfect individuals. And so, God has given us the privilege of a local body, where he's given various manifestation of gifts, where we have a contribution to make, but we also have a lot to receive, and we have a responsibility to participate. And so those are some things that I think about.
So good, Tim. I think what I hear a lot is, again, it gets back to that consumer mentality that I think, especially in the United States, the culture just trains us to have a consumer mentality, TV commercials, and you name it, everything is all about us. We're being marketed to all the time, right? And so it always puts us in the position of consumer and we bring that without even thinking about it, that consumer mentality into the sphere of the church. And it's so deadly when we do that. When we do that, then we come into local churches, and we kind of go well, that worship isn't really what I like, or that song, or that pastor, that preaching. And I'm kind of right at the center of that, right? What's pleasing to me? And it's just such a wrong way of thinking about the church. The church is the body, right? And that body, you need it, and it needs you.
So if you're not attending—and you can't be a part of a body online, as you were saying, Luke. You actually have to tangibly be with people, physically—they need you. What gifts has God given you? Turn that thought around on the head and say, "How do I need to contribute to this local body? Even if I don't like the particular way that they're worshiping," or whatever it is. "What is God given me to contribute? And also, what do I need? I need something too." Right? So I just think we have to think completely differently about this idea. Boy, I really want to encourage this. Another takeaway people, if you have this thought that you don't need to be attending a local church or it's not pleasing to you, just really challenge you to rethink this kind of attitude that you've got towards the local church. You need to be, as you just said Tim, really powerfully, you are commanded to be a part of a local body.
A sanctifying experience, because as we brush up against others, we have the opportunity to grow personally. And of course, if there's any focus on me, what's good for me, or what... The call is to serve. We have a call to serve.
Yeah, I mean, just the whole terminology around a church service. And to me, it almost sounds like you show up to have, the, the pastors and leadership perform goods and services towards you, and you're the audience. You're the recipient and you sit there and you enjoy it. And of course, then online church works just fine. And you can just be in this chair or be online and you're listening to the sermon. I just don't love that terminology. And just the the harmful side effects of our hyper individualistic culture, in and outside of the church. Mother Teresa once said that loneliness is the leprosy of today. We're seeing loneliness skyrocket right now, in and outside of the church. God has set up this whole structure for us, for community, and all the health and the benefits that come with that. Proverbs all the time is talking about how you are who you hang out with, in a way, your friends. You become like your friends. We need to be in the body of believers. And that doesn't have to be just friends or people we get along with or share interests with, we need to be in our local churches where we're surrounded by people of all walks of life, all different ages, all different classes, and getting along and challenging each other and encouraging each other in those places. It's the way God created us to live.
My take on that is a little more confrontational, just from my experience, because I've been a part of churches that you are kind of like a... I grew up in Kansas on the farm. So people herd cattle a lot, and I've seen that. I've participated in it. And sometimes I feel like church is kind of like that. You know, you have multiple services. You herd one group in one door and out the other. And then while that one's going out, the next one's coming in. And I really don't like that idea of church. To me, that is a service and it is something that I come, and I give my offerings, and I listen, and then I worship, and I give, and then I walk out and then I go about my business. And I think to me, I thought on the subject a ton, we need a new vision of church, to be honest.
I've also been a part of a communities where you actually have childcare. I mean, you have children's Sunday school, you even have adult Sunday school where you may go to church and then afterwards you participate together in a setting or a service or a Bible study, where you're sitting around a table with 10 or 15, maybe in a room with 30 or 40 other people, but there's more of a dialogue happening. And then you can engage with each other, you can agree, and then you can disagree, and you can have those kinds of discussions.
I don't think, generally, I don't find a lot of churches that practice that and so you think, maybe I do have giftings. And I do need to be a part of a local church. But all I am is, I'm kind of a cow, being herded through and then moved out and then make room for the next one. Part of what we're talking about here is even having a new vision for that. Darrow, you've mentioned that again, and Scott, you too, just, we need a new vision. And I think that's costly. And you may try to promote that, and it may not be accepted. I've been a part of that too, when no, that's not what we do here. And if you want that you're going to have to go somewhere else.
And I've obliged. But I think we have to, if we're believers and we really believe that the local church is a place that we should come together, that we should communicate with each other, that we have gifts and abilities, that I have something that maybe you need, and you have something that I need, you've got to quit herding me. Herding me into one door and out the other and allow me to build relationships, allow me to share my thoughts, even if they're right or wrong, and allow other people to do the same. Without that, it's not very attractive. Just personally, I'm not very attracted to that idea. And that's a struggle that I have, personally.
So, yeah, I think it's a really excellent point, Shawn, that the life of a local church happens in a community in a real community. Not in a kind of a situation where you've got people up front performing, and then people passively receiving. It has to be a real community where there's a give and take and where people are sharing gifts, people are receiving, people are praying for one another. Real hurts, real needs. So I know, at the church I attend, there's a real premium put on being involved in, not just the Sunday corporate gathering, but in small groups as well. And if that wasn't really emphasized or prioritized, I think I would have a real problem. Because as you say, if that piece isn't in place, at some level, it's not to say that that service on Sunday doesn't have a role or a place, but it's really hard when you're just kind of in a passive sitting position to live out of body kind of life. I'd say impossible, right? Yeah.
I would agree with a lot of what you've just said. But this, I'm gonna say yes and no. I say yes to what you've just said. But the no is, our concept of the church is still too small. It's the church in a building. It's the church on Sunday. Or there's programs that Shawn as you said, you're herded like cattle from one program to another. I remember reading about a pastor in Florida a few years ago, think he was a Baptist pastor, and he was preaching on the need for the church to engage in the community, which was good. And then during this series of sermons, the Lord convicted him. He said, you know, Pastor, you're telling the church it needs to be engaged in the life of the community. But you have so many programs going in the church, the people don't have any time. If they're good Christians, they don't have any time to be in the community. And he was really convicted by this. And what he ended up doing was one Sunday morning saying we're going to cut out half of the programs we do here, because you need the time to be engaging in the community. Now that was a radical change, and I'm sure it was radical for the people that were part of that church and part of that community of believers to hear that themselves because this was what was normal. But we need to think of the churches. We have a view of the church that's too small.
I yeah, I want to agree with you. And just with this one, you know, caveat myself here, Darrow on that, because I think when we think about engaging in the community, and we were talking about this earlier, very often, what churches tend to think about in terms of engaging the community is doing programs in the community, either individually or corporately. We're going to paint over the graffiti, or we're going to do food distribution or something like that. And those are important things. But we were just talking about engagement in the community, we can't just narrow it down to those kinds of things. It's what people do all the time. Right? Or they should be. It's the Monday church idea again, right?
It's the Monday church. It's not just doing, quote, unquote, "ministry," in the building, or now we do "ministry," outside the building. No, it's all of life. And we're prepared when we gather, to be scattered. And we're not encouraged just to keep coming back to the building and the program because that's where the life of the church is. No, the life of the church is in the community. And the gathering part is the preparation where the pastor and pastoral staff have an opportunity to prepare the congregation for the work of the church on Monday.
I think that's a great place to wrap it up, guys. Darrow, that's a great word. And this is such a rich topic. It's so important. And I really want to thank each one of you for your contribution today for your great thoughts. And thank all of you for listening. And I hope that there's some important takeaways that either as leaders of a church, pastors, elders, or just members of a church, local church—obviously we're all members of the Body of Christ—that we can take away from this discussion. Boy, the broken nations of our world need the church as never before. And this is going to be our hearts cry at the DNA. We've got to be the church for a time such as this. And in order to do that, we've got to understand clearly who we are and what our purpose is. So thanks for listening, and we'll catch you next time on Ideas Have Consequences.
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