Did Jesus ask us to start churches?

Jesus never called us to start church but HE DID COMMAND US TO MAKE DISCIPLES. That’s because He is building the ONE and only Church for HIMSELF – THE Church – the body of Christ, His disciples from different tribes and tongues globally.

Did it occur to us that Jesus never wanted us to build churches, and even more so to start a church building project? If he wanted us to get into building projects, He would have specifically given us the imperative and commissioned us to do so. Yet not even once, did He command His disciples to do that.

In fact, He does not want us to start HIS EKKLESIA. Jesus said, “I will” do it.

Matt 16:18 (NKJV)
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Jesus does it so well, that when He builds His Ekklesia, the powers of hell cannot withstand it.

How did we even get so far from the original intent and will of God and the commands of Jesus Christ?

Well, He definitely did not ask us to start and multiply churches. Neither did He even ask us to start cell groups or organisations to manage God’s people.

We can and should build community through living out His commands, to love Him and to love others, and express ourselves as His EKKLESIA. But never anywhere in the words of Jesus was there anything close to building a physical “house” for God, or a “house of God”.

He only gave His disciples ONE main thing to DO, the mission to MAKE DISCIPLES. Disciples of Jesus Christ, obviously. And disciples amongst all the people groups on the earth. And we have failed miserably.

Even the apostles who sought to obey Christ, preached what the prophet Isaiah said, that God “does not dwell in temples made with man’s hands” (Acts 7:48, Is 66:49). And none of them registered a church organization, or had any brand name (ABC church) or encouraged starting a faction/denomination (XYZ denomination church) with a group of people that they tried to “collect”. But today we do these things and call this “church”.

Organised church as we know today, and religious activities and programs, does not necessarily a disciple make. But it is true that disciples of Christ definitely make the church.

When you have disciples you will be His church. Church is never about what we do on a Sunday in a service, or even in a cell group (although that might have greater semblance to being His church), but it is who we are everyday, everywhere. Church is Jesus’ disciples fulfilling God’s kingdom plan and purposes on the earth.

So what should our focus be on if church is not what we should be focussed on?

That’s a better question to ask and answer. In short, it’s to make disciples of Christ.  And if “making disciples” is what Jesus wants us to obey in, then let’s take our focus off “doing church”. Let’s lower the bar of “doing church” and raise the bar of “making disciples” and in so doing, Jesus is building His church up.

Want to find out more about making and multiplying disciples?
Stay tuned for our next short blog post on making and multiplying disciples of Christ. Or you can sign up for Zúme “SIMPLE CHURCH” planting (which is really about the processes, practices of starting and planting simple faith communities) at https://missionalmovements.org/trainings/online-training-to-train-others-otto/

Karen Gan-Tay  

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