Are We Just the Peace Corps?

Every so often I ask that question of myself and others within the church. Why are we here? Why do we bother to go to the trouble of doing church?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to get together from time to time. The music is nice. The fellowship is good. The sermons are okay. But, really, why are we doing this?

And don’t tell me that the purpose of all this is to make this world a better place and do some good. ‘Nothing But Nets’ is nice, but really, is that all there is to who and what we are? Is curing malaria our real goal as a church?

Please understand. That’s a great thing to do, if we can. But, if that’s all we’re about, count me out. If that’s all there is to church, I’d rather go join the Peace Corps or the Red Cross. At least then I don’t have to go sit through boring sermons and outdated worship music.

If all we’re about is helping people or curing disease, why go through all the other fuss. Let’s just cut to the chase and get to the good work. After all, isn’t that the new mantra: “Don’t go to church. Be the church.”? Well, why waste time sitting when we could be doing? In fact, dump all that sentimental religious nonsense and get to the real business.

Unless, of course, all that religious nonsense really means something. Unless, of course, worship really matters. Unless … dare I say, that other stuff really isn’t our prime purpose. As good as it is, it is secondary at best. It’s the effect, the result of who we are, not our prime purpose.

In truth, we are not the Peace Corps, because curing malaria is not our real goal. According to the Bible, it is to seek and save the lost, those who do not yet know the joy of God’s salvation.

Perhaps that sounds antiquated and old-fashioned to some of you. But it’s why I get up in the morning. Someone else can cure malaria. I want to save souls. I want to see people who’ve never experienced God’s saving love come to know the fullness of the joy of God’s forgiveness.

It’s what I want God to do in my life. Anything short of salvation from sin and restoration to the Image of God is a waste of my time to do on Sunday morning. Let’s make that our goal. Leave the Peace Corps to someone else. They’re doing a good enough job as is. Let’s be the Church.

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One response to “Are We Just the Peace Corps?

  • Michael Mather

    I think God in Christ Jesus has already taken care of the salvation from sin part. The Church exists, from my perspective, not to be the Peace Corps – but to celebrate the reality of what God in Christ has done (and which neither myself nor anyone else can undo). Now I can certainly live as if the Good News of the Gospel is true – I can do all sorts of stupid things – but it doesn’t make it true. God is God and I’m not – and thank God for that. So the Church doesn’t exist to try to replace God or to do something that it really isn’t up to the task of doing – (that is saving people from sin – as noted, God has that part covered) So the Church exists to keep us celebrating the reality that the world has a hard time grasping (and thus, we can have a really hard time seeing). It does that so that we can not lose our perspective. I think it often does a pretty lousy job of that. We do a much better job as a commandment factory than we do as a place of great, good news. So – Peace Corps is besides the point. I think I know what you are saying (though I’m not for sure – Wesley sure did a lot of things that you might consider “peace corp like”) – and I would join you in thinking that the nets thing seems way too small for us in terms of the great good news that we have to share. Blessings, mike

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