“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”

John Piper

The Main Purpose of the Church

As individual Christians, we should find our purpose in life by looking at God’s purpose for his body. We often refer to the purpose of the church as missions….doing the things that God commissioned the church to do (Matthew 28:18-20). The problem is that many of us are confused about what exactly God designed and commissioned us to do.

Meeting needs or needing to worship?

If we were to generally survey people about the purpose of the church, it’s likely that we would get many different answers. Most of the answers would revolve around meeting the spiritual, social, or physical needs of the people in our community. 

There is some truth to that. A church that is not meeting the needs of people is almost assuredly missing its purpose. But meeting needs or doing missions is not the purpose of the church or of Christians. Our most fundamental purpose in life is to worship God. 

This foundational purpose of worship is exhibited very clearly in Mark 14:1-9. The men who were supposed to be leading the nation in worship were missing the greatest opportunity for worship that had ever existed. By contrast, a woman, who was not allowed to be a leader in worship, set an example for authentic worship that lasts until this day.

What is authentic worship?

According to Austin’s sermon, Mark 14:1-9 leaves us with three truths about authentic worship.

  1. Authentic worship is unrestrained.
  2. Authentic worship is consumed with the person of Jesus.
  3. Authentic worship is driven by what Christ accomplished on the cross.

Discussion Questions

  • What is your first reaction to the action of the woman in this passage?
  • How is she different from the scribes and chief priests?
  • Do you think the woman understood the significance of what Jesus was about to do?
  • Why is her worship exemplary?
  • Would most Christians today agree with the expense that this woman incurred to anoint Jesus?
  • How can we become so consumed with meeting needs that we neglect worship?
  • Does worship have to occur before we can be effective at meeting needs?
  • Do you feel that our church understands worship to be the most important job? Why or why not?
  • How does meeting needs serve the purpose of worship?
  • Why do we have to have missions?
  • How do missions and worship go hand-in-hand?

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