Metaphors of a Church

Categories: Staff Blogs

Recently in my research about churches I read a book called Missional House Churches  by J.D. Payne.  Payne has accomplished some of the most recent research about the planting of small churches (usually known as “house churches”).  In his book he listed ten metaphors that the Bible gives when referring to followers of Jesus (i.e. the church).  I felt these metaphors were worth typing out as a reminder of what the church is supposed to look like.  Enjoy!

  1.  Family.  In Matthew 12:46-50, Jesus referred to His followers as his family.  Jesus sees us as brothers and sisters through our faith in Him.   Through the Spirit of God in us we are closer than blood for we are now members of the Holy Family.
  2. Body.  In Romans 12:4-5 and 1Corinthians 12:25 the church is compared to a body and each individual is a vital part of the same body.  This reminds us that we need one another.  We were not saved to try to operate in isolation.  An “arm” needs a “shoulder” to be useful to the body, and vice versa.  We must all operated in unison to make the most of the body.
  3. Priesthood.  Peter called us a “priesthood” in 1Peter 2:5 and 9.  As a priesthood – not just individual priests – we are to work together in ministering to the Lord.  The Old Testament shows us that many priests were needed to perform all that God intended in worship.
  4. Fellowship.  Acts 2:42, 1John 1:7, and 1Peter 2:17 the church is referred to as a fellowship.  This shows how we are to be toward one another.  Fellowships take care of one another.
  5. Sanctuary / temple.  In 1Corinthians 3:16 the church is called a temple.  The temple of the Lord was where His presence on Earth resided.  It is a holy place set aside for the glory of the Lord.
  6. Building.  Ephesians 2:21 refers to the church as a building.  This is not referring to church structures, but rather showing how we are all needed to make up the entire edifice of Jesus’ glory.  One brick supports the next and Christ is the chief cornerstone.
  7. Bride.  Ephesians 5:22-24 and Revelation 21:2 and 9 noted that the church is a bride.  As a bride we are perfectly selected and set aside for our husband, who is Christ.  Until He comes the church is prepare for the great wedding day when we will be united in Him.
  8. Branches.  John 15:1-8 we are called branches.  As a branch we must abide in the trunk so that we can remain connected to the nutrition we need to flourish and produce fruit.  The trunk is Christ.
  9. Sheep.  John 10:1-8 states that we are sheep and Christ is the great shepherd.  As sheep we are to remain together waiting and watching for the master’s voice to lead us.  We must remain inside the flock for safety because the wolves may pick off the stragglers.
  10. Salt and Light.  Matthew 5:13-17 the church is called salt and light.  As salt we preserve and bring taste.  As light we cause darkness to flee.  We must remain salt and light together to deliver Christ’s  message in holiness and power.
Author: Thad

Leave a Reply