Where Christ is, there is the true Church. Since the earliest days of the Reformation, Reformed Christians have marked the presence of the true Church where:
- the Word of God is truly preached and heard,
- the Sacraments are rightly administered, and
- ecclesiastical discipline is uprightly ministered.
In our own time, we affirm that, in the power of the Spirit, the Church is faithful to the mission of Christ as it:
- Proclaims and hears the Word of God, responding to the promise of God’s new creation in Christ, and inviting all people to participate in that new creation;
- Administers and receives the Sacraments, welcoming those who are being engrafted into Christ, bearing witness to Christ’s saving death and resurrection, anticipating the heavenly banquet that is to come, and committing itself in the present to solidarity with the marginalized and the hungry; and
- Nurtures a covenant community of disciples of Christ, living in the strength of God’s promise and giving itself in service to God’s mission. (Book of Order, F-1.0303)
The great ends of the Church are:
- the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;
- the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;
- the maintenance of divine worship;
- the preservation of the truth;
- the promotion of social righteousness; and
- the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world. (Book of Order, F-1.0304)
As far back as 1837 the General Assembly declared that the church, by its very nature, is a missionary society whose purpose is to share the love of God in Jesus Christ in word and deed and with all the world. Witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world, Presbyterians engage in mission activities, seek to alleviate hunger, foster self-development, respond to disasters, support mission works, preach the gospel, heal the sick, and educate new generations for the future. In partnership with more than 150 churches and Christian organizations around the world, the missionary efforts of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) involve approximately 1,000 volunteers and compensated personnel.