In general, we can say that the function of a church or congregation is to worship God in community. People may have many misconceptions about churches, as they do about Christianity as a whole. In addition, we tend to think that a church is a place that should be very nice. It is not the function of a church to take care of comfort or social life. That does not mean that we should not have social events. They are great, but they are not the primary function of a church. The function of a church is not to provide people with a social life. It is not necessarily aimed at making everyone feel good or special. A church is primarily a tool to lead us in worship and spiritual edification, as well as to give spiritual direction. As a church community, we need to support each other, but the nature of that support may not be exactly the kind of support which is often seen in an office or among acquaintances. There is often a wining and victim’s attitude, which is not support. The more we develop spiritually and come to see things from a divine aspect, the less we will seek shallow kinds of support.
Sadly enough, many churches tend to be somewhat ego-perpetuating in our Western culture. We want them to be bigger, better, more important than the other person’s church. Very subtle ego currents can circulate in a church community — as in any other organization, if we are not careful.
Another mark of a mature church is that it leads us to Christ. To what we are drawn is the basis of living a holy life, which is to assume more and more of a spiritual understanding of our existence. Everything in our life will continue to take place – the problems, the emotional difficulties, the unpleasant days, the difficulties – all of which is human life. It is the ability to enjoy what is happening when it is good, to have equanimity when it is adverse and to live through it spiritually, which is our continuing struggle in this imperfect world.
The mark of spiritual maturity is simply the ability to more and more notice the deeper meaning of things and to do the job that needs to be done, but not to be caught up by it.