1997 – 12 years ago, before I ever served on a church staff, only months after I accepted the call into ministry, I read a book about the purposes of the church. The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren was my first exposure into understanding and doing ministry in the American church.
I had never thought about these things before. Even though I had been a Christian for over 10 years and very active in my local church, I was completely naive to what the church should and should not be about. This book put the 5 purposes of the church in clear, plan English: Worship, Discipleship, Fellowship, Ministry, and Evangelism.
No matter your view of PDC or of Rick Warren, you have to give it to him…he was right and clear in his assessment of the biblical purposes of the church. The impact of that book can never be truly ascertained. The 5 purposes are found are over the place: vision and mission statements, worship bulletins, church budgets, and church plant founding documents.
Over the next 5 posts, I am going to take each of the 5 purposes and try to put into words the ministry shifts found in each of these over the past 12 years. I think you might be surprised how much things have changed in only 12 years.