An institution can be defined as something that has been well known and established in place for a long time and that is influential in the community, or an established law, custom or practice.
The church as an institution has been in the society for a long time though the word “church” was adopted somewhere around the time of apostles between 34 AD and 70 AD according to Christianity and is mostly associated with religious gatherings. Religion has been there since there was mankind.
Since there was the church institution, it has continued to play some significant roles in the society that cannot be ignored and will continue to shape the society since the ancient world to the modern world. The influences of the church extends well beyond Christians, thus it is felt even among the Muslims, Hindus, Buddha people, Atheists etc considering the fact that Christianity is the largest religion in the world.
What are the major significances of the church institution in the society? Read on…
ONE: SHAPING OF MORALS
To many people, the distinction between right and wrong and their behavioral patterns are as it is in the church that they follow. Since childhood, many people are made to believe that the church doctrines are the benchmark for behaviors and it is instilled into their conscience that what the clergy men tell them, it is right without questioning.
Many nations across the world too have derived a lot of state rules from the Bible, the governing book for church behaviors and morality and have many precepts that are similar to the ones found in the Bible. The church has continued to give guidance upon its followers on how to behave decently and honorably by distinguishing between right and wrong and making a choice of doing the right thing.
To many, the inner conviction in absence of physical proof has been entirely shaped by the church denomination that they follow, to some for better and others for worse.
TWO: SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT
Many people get their spiritual encouragement and support mainly from the church. Their spirituality is nurtured in the church and mostly their spiritual journey begins once they secure any formal or informal membership of the church.
The church starting from the physical building to the gatherings is viewed with respect by many people. Many people get to hear, see, talk and engage in anything spiritual only when they attend the church and not any other time.
The spiritual life of many can only be traced from the church institution and many will continue to get their spiritual nourishment from the institution.
THREE: CREATION OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Many people continue to earn their daily bread courtesy of the church ranging from pastors, evangelists, musicians, and many more. The church is also an institution that requires proper management in order to succeed in its endeavors and that means it also requires people with both accounting and managerial skills for proper, justifiable and equitable management of church resources. It is in this too that the church employs people with various secular skills e.g. accountants, landscape engineers, electricians etc.
The major aim of the church though is not for generating income, but some churches have been known to engage in income generating activities in order to finance their endeavors. Those engaging in the activities also derive their living there. Though it is worth to note that some churches overdo in this and instead of serving the right propose in the society, they become like business enterprises driven by selfish interests of a few individuals.
|A Modern Church.|
FOUR: SOCIAL GATHERING
Despite all, people are social beings and anywhere they meet is a potential place for interaction in a friendly way, and this includes the church.
It is in the church many have made new friends and even met life partners. The society too continues to use the church as potential places for engaging in other organized welfare services e.g. wedding committees, burial ceremonies etc and many churches also have halls for the propose just close to the church building.
Though social interactions are worth limiting in the church, but the church offers perfect places to meet many people at once and people like politicians, social activists, etc continue to further their agendas through the church.
FIVE: IMPACT UPON STATE POLITICS
The church is one of the most powerful elements that continue to shape state politics. The church’s ability to sway popular opinions via religious teachings cannot be underestimated and that is why you often find powerful politicians attaching themselves in powerful and popular churches in order to reach great audience.
The church has the power to shape political destiny of a nation whether directly or indirectly since people in their various political parties also belong to various church denominations. It is normal to see many nations before a major political milestone e.g. a national election to see it seeking some moral guidance from the church and also we are able to see the church offering some moral guidance to people adhering to various political views in order to try to maintain some peace and order in the society.
It is wrong for the church to lean on one political view as opposed to another but we often find some denominations taking sides in politics and this creates confusion among the followers and may culminate to divides and strife in the society.
SIX: IDIOSYNCRASY EFFECTS UPON THE PEOPLE
What is idiosyncrasy? Quirk: a way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is peculiar to an individual or group, especially an odd or unusual one. The church has in it some denominations that make their followers behave in some strange ways. In fact, all denominations believe that they are right and that the other denominations are wrong and follow strange teachings! [NOTE: Many denominations follow their own church traditions as opposed to the Biblical teachings].
Some churches/church leaders ask of their followers to do some weird things e.g. sell everything and follow them, fail to seek medical attention in event of sickness, prostrate themselves when their religious leader is passing, kiss their toes or any other object of admiration, have sex with them in order to solve a fertility issue, observe an unusual day of sabbatical rest etc
Whenever people follow what their clergymen tell them without reasoning and calculating the effect, it is possible to end up completely deluded. But to many, they continue doing so without knowing that whatever they are doing is in fact against the plain teachings of the Bible. Such people attract ridicule from the society and may give the idea that the church is not something to be associated with.
The church as an institution will continue to influence the society whether for better or for worse and we simply cannot ignore its existence. What other significances of the church in the society do you know?
Be sure to read THE FOLLY OF MODERN CHRISTIANITY, an article in this blog that shows in depth many of the senseless behaviors associated with the so called Christians of our modern times.
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