I don’t know about you but I’m tired of all the crazy book titles that attach adjectives to the word “church”.  I get dozens of review copies every year and lately it dawned on me that many of them the last couple of years have had “church” in the title.  So I did a search of Amazon and found hundreds of books with the word “church” described by an adjective.

Now don’t get me wrong. Some of these books are excellent and my reviews on them have been extremely positive. But, isn’t there just one real type of church- the one we see in the New Testament? So why do we need to attach all of these adjectives to the word “church”?  Can’t we just talk about the Church as God intended it to be? Why can’t we just speak of the “biblical church”? If we’re going to use an adjective to describe “church” shouldn’t that adjective be “biblical?”Or would that offend someone when their type of church, which really isn’t a church by biblical description, is left out of the description?

Take a look at this short list that includes some of the better know titles that include the word “church”.

The first list is contains descriptions that all biblical churches should embody.

Whole Church, Simple Church, Externally Focused Church, Incarnational Church, Emergent, Missional Church, Organic Church, Engaged Church, Total Church, Essential Church,  Sticky Church, Purpose Driven Church,  Vintage Church , Church Unique, Emotionally Healthy Churches, The Multiplying Church, Healthy Churches Real Church, Disciple Making Church, The Prayer-Saturated Church, The Connecting Church, The Deliberate Church, Churches that make a difference, Cross-Shattered Church , The Church of the Irresistible Influence.

This second list is shorter and the adjective seems necessary because it describes a different model of the biblical church.

The Multi-Site Church, The SimChurch.

The last list is simply ridiculous descriptions of churches.

The Domestic Church, The Family-Friendly Church.

So again I ask you, why can’t we just use the phrase, “the biblical church,” and drop most of the other adjectives?

Okay, you won’t let me. So here are the only three adjectives I think can legitimately be used with the word “Church” – faithful, biblical, and missional. All of the other adjectives are tied up in these three adjectives.

So, here is how I define a biblical church.

  • They are biblically grounded and culturally relevant.
  • Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • They exist to make disciples.
  • Everyone is considered to be a minister and missionary for Christ.
  • They are a trusting community.