What is the purpose of the church? What is its calling? Why does it exist? These are all questions that the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia, Aram K’eshishea answers when he wrote about the nature of the church as a missional community…
The church is a community of faith. Under no circumstances should we lose this very concept of the church. Being a community of faith, the church is also a common mission. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not establish an institution that come to be called “church.” He gave a particular mission to his disciples: Go forth into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 10:15). In fact the raison d’etre of our church, its true riches and real value is neither in its structure nor its hierarchy, neither in its theology nor is spirituality. Its true riches lies in its missionary engagement, evangelistic witness, and diakonal action.
We should remind ourselves that mission does not come from the from the church; the church acquires its real nature, unique identity and true vocation from mission. Hence a church becomes a church when it fulfills its missionary calling.
-Aram K’eshishean (HT: Scott Sunquist)