Yesterday, we analyzed the bare bones needed to be a church. At the end of the day all we need is the Gospel purely proclaimed (God's work fully, and not ours) and the Sacraments administered correctly (forgiveness of sins and Christ living in You). This is gleaned from the Augsburg Confession and also Acts 2:42-47.
"The Church is the congregation of saints in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered. For the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree about the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacrament." Augsburg Confession, Article VII.
This starts a portion of what the church is not. With this definition the church is not:
3) Comfort of the pews
4) Friendliness of the people
5) Look of the pastor (thank God)
7) Placement of building
I will go further into some of these details. Now I know that many will come after me like gangbusters and say, "But pastor, all of those things can help the Gospel." I am not making a "strategic plan" or evaluating sociology yet. Now we are getting to the basics. I believe we all have some repenting to do because we can talk all day about improving the potlucks or buildings and never mention how we can proclaim and administer more.
Tomorrow, I will discuss what the first and foremost goal of the church should be in the community.
Lord have mercy