Church Life
Gary McBride

3 Main Objectives of the Local Church

If we aim at nothing we will hit the target every time.

What is the objective of a local church as the believers meet week by week? Colossians 2:3 provides a threefold goal that all of us should aim for.

That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach the full assurance of the knowledge of God’s mystery which is Christ. (ESV)

The three items in this verse are encouragement, love, and teaching. It is worth evaluating the current ministry of our own local church to see if this is our mandate.


God’s people need to be encouraged. The world provides little encouragement in the spiritual realm. Many believers are “knocked around” during the week. They may be an ungodly work environment, have difficulties at home, or it may be physical or emotional problems. Though people put on a “brave face” they could be struggling in their spiritual life and walk with the Lord.

The last thing people need is to get “beat up” on a Sunday. I have heard sermons, or comments at meetings that are like blows to the gut. Believers can leave this type of setting with this thought, “why did I come today?”

It is vital that we collectively encourage, (the word here carries the idea of strengthen), the Lord’s people, giving a boost, or “shot in the arm” that will help them face the coming week.


All of us need to feel and experience love. It is sad if some of God’s people have the sense that nobody cares if they are there or not. This can happen if a person misses several weeks and no one responds by welcoming them and expressing affection at seeing them again. The phrase “knit together in love” has the thought of “compacted, welded into genuine unity.” (H.C.G. Moule) This unity of love is the means of encouragement. We cannot have one without the other.

Paul says of the believers in Thessalonica,

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers…(1 Thessalonians 4:9, 10 ESV)

We should ask the question – what would Paul write about our local church?


People need teaching in order to grow in their faith. Church life is not just about love and encouragement but is primarily about the person of Jesus Christ. Paul’s third point in our verse is that people to see Christ. We want believers to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, to plumb the depths of the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge found in Him.

There is a direct correlation between, love and encouragement, and the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely Christ. The love and encouragement provides an environment where people want to learn and grow. These two things also lead to the visible demonstration of the virtues of the person of Christ.


We need to ask if this verse is true in our own local church. Consider last Sunday and give thought to what took place, and what where the results? If your assembly is lacking in any of these activities we need to ask ourselves – “what can I do?” Each of us can make it our goal to encourage and love God’s people.

You may not have any influence on the teaching or the presentation, but you can have an influence on individuals. We need to have a target to aim at week by week.

Gary McBride


  1. Avatar

    Good post. One additional thought:

    “It is sad if some of God’s people have the sense that nobody cares if they are there or not. This can happen if a person misses several weeks and no one responds by welcoming them and expressing affection at seeing them again.”

    An enthusiastic “welcome back” is absolutely better than nothing. But in a healthy local church, if a member misses several weeks without anyone knowing why in advance, I’d like to hope he/she would have already received two or three calls at home from fellow believers. Not necessarily the probing, obviously pastoral calls (and definitely not the product of some programmatic response to people drifting), but simply natural expressions of personal interest, invitations to dinner or to grab a coffee, offers to help out with the kids or whatever. The latter expressions seem to me a far more powerful evidence of real Body life than an enthusiastic “welcome back”. When these kinds of personal, unscripted touches are absent from church fellowship, my suspicion is that we are behaving no differently than the members of a secular social club or hobby group.


    • Avatar

      I like this, Gary.

      I wonder if we should mention worship too. Corporate worship is going down in all evangelical congregations — even in the “progressive” assemblies. Fewer and fewer of us understand or practice worshipping the Lord together.

      That seems to me to be a target we should be hitting individually every day; and corporately, at least once a week. Much good would flow if we did.


Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.