The Purpose of the Church: Fr. Gary Kyriacou

Pastor Rick Warren’s bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, was actually a sequel to a lesser known book he wrote called The Purpose Driven Church. In The Purpose Driven Church, he gives a great list of “purposes” that each church should aim to accomplish. Liberally summarizing Warren’s work, he says each successful church should be: warmer through fellowship, deeper through discipleship, stronger through worship, broader through ministry, and larger through evangelism. To see how these principals stacked up against the specific requirements of Orthodoxy, I reviewed the Archdiocese Bylaws. They state: "The diakonia (work, ministry, mission) of the parish will include proclaiming the Gospel in accordance with the Orthodox Faith, sanctifying the faithful through God's grace in worship, the Divine Liturgy and the other Sacraments and Devotional Services, enhancing the Parishioners’ spiritual life; and adding to their numbers by instructing others and receiving them into the Church through Baptism and/or Chrismation, catechizing them in the Orthodox Faith and in the ethos of the Church through the establishment of programs, schools and philanthropic activities, and implementing Christian ministries." As you can see, there is a great deal of overlap between what Warren outlined and what the Archdiocese dictates, and I found myself wondering, as a priest and pastor, if the parish I serve is meeting these objectives. Does St. Demetrios hold true and fast to the aims and purposes established by the Archdiocese?  ... read more