Recently, I was asked to come up with a definition for the local church as part of an assignment for a course I am taking at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The parameters were that the definition be limited to the local church (e.g. do not include universal church) and it be no more than 100 words.
The idea is to provide a thorough, yet succinct definition. Here is my initial draft:
A local church is a group that has been baptized by immersion upon a credible confession of faith in Jesus Christ and associates around mutually affirmed doctrinal convictions. The local church members agree to regularly assemble for worship, fellowship, instruction, service, and accountability. The local church is the primary place to fulfill the New Testament “one-another” commands and the principal means of carrying out the Great Commission locally and globally. Structurally, the local church is overseen by Biblically qualified Elders, while Deacons lead in service to the church and community, with the entire congregation following their example.
I would love your feedback: what would you add or take away? How would you define the local church in 100 words or less?