For a number of years, I reflected on the purpose and mission of the church. Hundreds of books have been written about churches as people of God, about the body of Christ, about communion with the Holy Spirit. I do not claim to have more than a basic knowledge of what God wants to do in and through the church today. I'm still learning. In this article, I want to take a few modest steps in expanding the boundaries of what we understand about the church as a Messianic society, and applying it to the Vineyard movement.
When I refer to the "church," I usually do not separate the local church and the universal church, which consists of all those whose names are written in the Book of the Lamb. In the New Testament, this term has some flexibility because it can refer to the house church, the city church, or all of God's people.
The word "church" has two aspects: the body and the organization. The church is an organism because it is a living being composed of Spirit-filled believers who depend on one another. At the same time, it is an organization, because there is a necessary structure in which Spirit-filled believers use the various gifts of the Spirit. The church is both an organism and an organization; one aspect is not complete without the other.