The Church Defined

SUMMARY: For the purposes of the various ministries of Converge Heartland, a church shall be defined as a local group of Christ-followers who are committed to the gospel through Biblical doctrine and practice as contained in the Bible and reflected in Converge Worldwide/Converge Heartland Affirmation of Faith, being dedicated to Gathering Together, Making Disciples and developing Biblical Leadership.

  • Gathering Together (Heb 10:24-25, Mt 28:19-20, Acts 2:42, Col 1:1-14)
    1. Acknowledge and experience the reality of God in our midst (Mt 18:20)
    2. Worship Christ (I Pet 2:5, Rom 12:1-2)
    3. Preach the Gospel (1 Cor 1:21-24)
    4. Teach the whole council of the word of God. (2 Tim 3:16)
    5. Preserve the unity of the Spirit through living out the scriptural admonishments regarding “one another” relationships. (Eph 4:1-16, Phil 2:1-11, (Mk 9:50, Jn 13:34-35, Rm 12:10, 12:16, 14:13, 14:19, 15:7, 15:14, Gal 6:2, Eph 4:32, 5:19, 5:21, Phil 2:3, Heb 10:24, Jms 4:11)
    6. Fellowship with one another (the sharing of life in all its dimensions) (Acts 2:42)
    7. Pray together (Acts 2:42)
    8. Practice the ordinances of the church: believer’s baptism by immersion and celebration of the Lord’s supper (communion) (Mt 28:19-20, Mt 26:26-29
  • Making Disciples (Matt 28:19-20)
    1. Evangelism
      • Clearly communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ through all effective methods, (1 Cor 9:22)
      • Authentically living out the gospel in our worldview, thinking processes, attitudes, actions and verbal expressions, (2 Cor 2:14-15)
      • Consistently giving unbelievers the opportunity to interact openly about spiritual matters, always pointing them to the reality of the gospel, (1 Peter 2:12)
      • Intentionally calling people to received the truth of the gospel and enter into a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. (John 15:16)
    2. Strengthening believer resulting in reproduction by (2 Tim 2:2)
      • Teaching the truths of the Word of God with clarity and applicability, (Titus 2:1)
      • Expecting that all believers will be continual learners and obedient followers of the commands and teachings of Christ and the scriptures, (Phil 4:9, Deut 6:1-9)
      • Training believers to model their knowledge and practice of the faith to the lives of others, with the purpose of seeing these reproduced in their lives, (1 Thess 1:6, 1 Cor 4:16, 1 Cor 11:1&2)
      • Call believers to become members of the local church for the purposes of identity with and full participation in the ministries of the congregation. (Mt 18:15-20)
    3. Carrying out discipleship ministries in local, regional and international locales. (Acts 1:8)
      • Doing the work of disciple-making in locales where the local congregation has opportunity, (Mt 28:20)
      • Equipping the work (and workers) of disciple-making where the local congregation does not have direct opportunity through prayer and the giving of financial and practical support. (Acts 15:22, 11:29)
  • Developing Biblical Leadership (I Tim 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-16)
    1. Spiritually: Elders (by whatever title) have responsibility for the ministry of the Word and prayer, vision casting, and determining of direction for ministry (1 Tim 3:1-7, Tit 1:5-16)
    2. Practically: Deacons (by whatever title) have responsibility for providing service to and equipping of the church for effective ministry (1 Tim 3:8-13, Acts 6:1-7)
    3. Logistically: Body of Christ (Acts 6:3, Acts 1:21-26)
      • Consistent congregational input and involvement in decision making and ministry.
    4. Utilization of the specific God-given strengths and spiritual gifts of the people

PLANTING: The starting, birthing, launching or beginning of a church (as herein defined) in a geographic area (region, state, community or neighborhood) not sufficiently served by evangelical Christian congregations and where potential exists to reach a significant number of “unreached” people.

Note: The definitions and details included here were approved by Converge Heartland Board of Overseers on Aug 3, 2013, updated November 16, 2013.