As a pastor, I frequently get caught in a conversation describing the church. People expect a pastor to give a sales pitch with a church invite. Often my answer doesn’t satisfy the expectation. I can see it on their faces. They expected to hear about a church identified by location (Monument and Thompson), history (128 years), or denomination (Baptist). Their ears are trained to receive a quip mission’s statement, so hearing “Immanuel is a gospel-preaching church” is met with a pause waiting for the added value that makes the church special. I resist filling the gap with a program or special event.
Here is the reason: The church must be word-centered. Because Scripture transforms people, the Bible should gather the congregation as the people of God.
By word-centered, I mean that the Bible must be preached and received. The Word of God searches the heart, and the people of God surrender the will. A Word-centered church is a congregation gathered for the preaching and receiving of God’s Word. That is why the center of the platform, the focus of the service, and the description of the church ought to be word-centered.
Consider the power of God’s Word to change us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” God’s Word instructs us about what is right (teaching), what is wrong (reproof), how to get right (correction), and how to stay right (training in righteousness). Over time the Bible trains an army engaged in the work of the ministry.
So when guests are given sermon cards, the bulletin cover follows the sermon series, and the worship services are called gatherings, these are more than marketing choices. They show the church’s commitment to the Word to do the work.