This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
From The Body by Colson:
Ask about the local church's role in the world, and most Christians immediately begin hauling out mission statements, actions plans, and strategy schemes. They are already lacing up their Nikes, asking, "What should we do?"
That eagerness is wonderful, [but] we need the Big-picture view of the body, alive and vibrant—the holy, presence in the world. For the church's role in the world is not a series of independent items on an action checklist.
Instead, the church's role (what it does) is dependent on its character (what it is) as a community of believers. What we do, therefore, flows from who we are.
This character oriented perspective is totally foreign to our achievement-oriented society, however, where we look at what people do rather than who they are. And it goes against everything in our consumer oriented religious culture, where we pick and choose churches on the basis of fellowship [personal clique's] or outreach programs or music or location or convenient parking.
Rarely do we hear believers say, "I decided to join this church because of its character as a holy community." Nor do most choose a church on the basis of it capacity to disciple and equip them for ministry.
Yet that should be our very first consideration. If the church is the body, the holy presence of Christ in the world, its most fundamental task is to build communities of holy character.