Karns Mission Statement

In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records God’s Plan for the Church. If the Church accepts and faithfully carries out the mission according to that plan, it will be a body made up of mature believers. Each member should thus be dedicated to growing into the full measure of Christlikeness and building up the other members of the body so that they too can attain the fullness of Christ.

This is the goal toward which the body of Christ should be striving. Sometimes we get side-tracked into emphasizing a part of the whole. Whether this emphasis centers around the worship service, the church building, fellowship, or even evangelism (and all of these focuses are good), they are only pieces of the whole and are only sustainable activities as they are motivated from that internal drive to become like Christ. It is Christlikeness for every member that is the goal for each congregation. This is God’s measure of success; it doesn’t stop at baptism or the attendance of services or various activities, but continues on until we experience maturity in Christ.

Now that we have identified the correct target, it is vital that we take to heart what is required to reach that goal. In verse 13 of the passage from Ephesians, Paul writes “until we all attain to the unity of faith”. It would have been nice if he had said “until the strong attain,” but he did not, he said “all.” We cannot be successful as a congregation until the goal for each and every one of us is to be solid and mature in Christ. There is no room for pew-warmers in the Lord’s Church. However, God’s desire is not that His children be eliminated from the rosters, but rather that they mature and fulfill the responsibilities God has laid out for them. The restoration of the Church as it is described in the New Testament is a noble goal. As lofty as it is, we need to understand that the pattern we are following, the specs that we are building to, is God’s vision for the church. We have no choice but to follow it. Whether or not it is attainable is immaterial for we will as mere mortals fall short of that vision. We will, however, get much closer to arriving if we are all aiming at the correct goal. Paul was in no way a naive idealist, but lived his life with this idealistic purpose.

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power which mightily works within me (Col. 1:28, 29).

Any plan we have for the Church that does not practically address this requirement for all of us to attain maturity falls short of God’s expectation and is therefore inadequate. Any such plan must be replaced with one that aspires to be the Church that Christ died for.

The ideal that Paul presents in this passage begins as he explains who it is that is responsible for building up the body and equipping her for this work, namely “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers”. Although the Church doesn’t have all of these offices today, she does have evangelists, pastors and teachers, and the fulfillment of this responsibility must fall on them. It is only as the spiritual leaders of a congregation whole heartedly accept this responsibility of working together that the remainder of the body will attain maturity in Christ. Without this unity, we as a congregation have no hope of becoming the Church that God has intended for us to be.

In his address to the Ephesian elders, Paul explains what he did to implement this plan when he states that he “did not shrink back from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house”. We have traditionally emphasized our public teaching; however, accept in the case of Bible studies with non-Christians, we have neglected this idea of private, one-on-one teaching in each other’s homes. This is the heart to heart communication we must engage in if we are going to achieve the fullness of God’s dream. It is that “speaking the truth in love” that will allow us “to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph 4:15). In this way we will “sanctify Christ as Lord, in our heart” and be “ready to make a response to everyone who asks us about our hope” (I Pet. 3:15).

It is this vision of the Church that every program at Karns must have as its core and goal. Every activity, every program, must be viewed in this context of becoming Christ-like. Without that context, we will be engaging in efforts, however good they may be individually, that will not be sustainable and cannot arrive at completeness. However, as we allow God to re-mold our hearts, we will be transformed into Christ-like men and women, able to fulfill our God-given mission.

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Service Times

Sunday Morning Bible classes: 9:00 am

Sunday Morning Worship: 10:00 am

Sunday Evening Worship: 6:00 pm

Wednesday Evening Bible Study & Devotional: 7:00 pm


6612 Beaver Ridge Road

Knoxville, TN 37931

Ph: 865-691-7411

Email: office@karnscoc.org