In an Ecclesiology seminar at Southern Seminary, we were asked to define the local church in one hundred words or less. Here’s my attempt at a definition:
A local church is a manifestation in time and space of the ultimate, heavenly-eschatological assembly of God’s redeemed humanity. Each local church represents what it means to be God’s people by assembling together in one place for worship, encouragement, and accountability; by being a community shaped by the Scriptures; by observing the symbol-laden acts of baptism and the Lord’s supper; by maintaining its purity through church discipline; and by seeking to make disciples of all nations. All of this is to be done under the leadership of elders, the service of deacons, and the rule of the congregation.