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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

We Are Not A Church, Are We?

Discover Hope is blessed to be an outreach of a bigger organization (MSW Ministries) to which I serve as President and Director of Spiritual Care. Weekly I write a word of encouragement to our team to help them start their week centered in Christ. This weeks message seemed a good reminder for all of us.

“He is the head of the body, the church…”[1]

It’s common to hear non-profit organizations say: “We’re not a church.” I get it. Most para-church ministries do not have a building identified as “a church.”

Their facility is commonly oriented to provide offices and space in which they conduct their ministry business and services. Their headquarters are not ordinarily concerned with offering weekly worship services or structured programs to encourage personal growth and transformation, familiar to your local church.

Even at MSW, we’ve heard it more than once: “We’re not a church.” We recognize that our mission outreach looks and feels different from that of our local church.

However, it is critical that each of us at MSW remember: We are THE church. Failure to reinforce this truth encourages ministry to become only a business; a calling to be reduced to a job, and purpose to become ours, not Jesus’.

“THE Church” (the ekklesia) is comprised of followers of Christ, who derive their identity and mission from Jesus. We understand the importance of community and how the local church is part of God’s mission to encourage growth in our relationships with each other – and with God.

As members of THE Church (as followers of Jesus), we need this – I need this – continual reminder: Although MSW is not “A church,” it is THE Church.

This means I’m no longer free to do what I feel or want. Every desire and dream I have must be submitted for the purpose of Jesus Christ, who is the Head of THE Church.

Belonging to a non-profit ministry/foundation does not automatically guarantee that my personal growth and transformation will happen without my voluntary, on-going submission to the Headship of Jesus.

Praying for you this week.


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Col 1:18.

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