There are many studies about the history of churches and how many people pictured and tried to understand the church

There are many studies about the history of churches and how many people pictured and tried to understand the church. Avery Dulles author of, “Models of the Church” was first published in 1974 revealing the missions in the church as models, in the terms of the Institution model, Communion model, Sacrament model, Herald model and the Servant model. All of the models are pretty crucial to the church but there are two that most stood out for me to talk about for the importance and unimportance of understanding the church. In this essay I will be summarizing the Herald and Sacrament models and why the Herald model is most important for understanding the church, and why the Sacrament model is the least important for understanding the church.
First the Herald model is a community or congregation that officially announces the word of God to the world and those who listen (Dulles 69). The bonds of union of a Herald are people who have an unquestionably faith for God, basically somebody who trusts in God’s word, knowing that he will do right by the church and lead things in the right direction (Dulles 75). People who benefit from the Herald are people who put their faith in Jesus Christ and trust that he will lead you as Lord and Savior (Dulles 76). The community gets the message from God through Jesus Christ by receiving the salvation that God promises. The salvation comes from the knowledge and trust in the work of Jesus Christ. This leads to the main assets of a good biblical foundation, a clear sense of identity and mission, being conducive to a spirituality, and lastly gives rise to a very rich theology of the word (Dulles 76-77). These are important assets to understanding the herald model and how it functions.
The Herald “may represent a king who comes to proclaim a royal decree in public square (Dulles 69).” Which means Jesus Christ spreading his word to people who want to know about god and our mission on this earth. Dulles states that “This type of ecclesiology has many points of contact with the communitarian understanding of the Church as people of God’ which emphasizes faith and proclamation over interpersonal relations and mystical communion (Dulles 68).” This means that without the people of god “followers” there is no church and true belief if there is no one following his word keeping his word alive. As stated by Dulles “The community itself happens wherever the spirit breathes, wherever the word is proclaimed and accepted in faith. The church is event, a point of encounter with God (Dulles 69).” Making it so that the church is a part of the word of Christ and the word of Christ is actually being heard throughout the congregation (Dulles 69-70) “The Church is the congregation that is gathered together by the word, a word that ceaselessly summons it to repentance and reform (Dulles 70).” Meaning that wherever the people are and if they accept the word of Christ, God’s spirit will be there. There does not have to be an actual building for people to have church and hear the word of God, as long as the congregation is around and they are able to spread the word, the Herald model is amongst us. The model of the Herald shows up within the community of the church, where God speaks to them through mass, Eucharist, and prayer.
Another example that could be in the sense of a herald is speaking in tongues. Through speaking in tongues, one is having devotional time with God. Meaning that they are speaking to God. Speaking in tongues helps people communicate with God which is a very intimate encounter. People who speak through tongues rely messages and spread the message of God, just like the herald model does. Through the Herald Model God’s word comes first. The word of God comes from the Bible. Through this model it is important for people to receive the word of god and pass it onto others. Just like preachers, bishops, and popes do. Preaching to the people that creates more followers and believers of the church.
The church comes together by the word because people want to be saved and make it to heaven. Hearing the word also makes it possible for people to believe in miracles. The herald model shows much power of the word being it a powerful force on the church. The herald announces good news but the model also lives the good news aligning with the gospel. Announcing the word of god is important to people who especially follow and allow the word of god to guide their lives to a better understanding, and finding a way to understand themselves. The church gathers from the word of god realizing the mission and the news of the church needs be heard and believed in. The herald model can be recognized as a “Kerygmatic” which means that “it looks upon the church as a herald– one who receives an official message with the commission to pass it on (Dulles 68-69).”
Now the least important model for understanding the church is the Sacrament model. The Sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible grace, which is basically saying a concrete object or ritual which makes God, Christ, and Grace real and present (Dulles 58). The bonds of union are visible signs of grace (Dulles 62). For example, the bread and wine in communion, are things that are supposed to give us a stronger connection to god in the way that bread is the body and wine is the blood of Jesus Christ, strengthening our souls and showing that Christ is present in that time of communion. Also when being baptized represents the cleansing of our souls and the renewal of being born again into the holy spirit of god. People gain the benefits of being greater with God’s grace. As described by Dulles “A sacrament therefore is a socially constituted or communal symbol of the presence of grace coming to fulfillment (Dulles 59).” This means that the sacrament Shapes the Christian life towards living out gospel values in order to make Christ present in the world, and nourishes it by regular participation in the sacraments.
According to Dulles “The church becomes an actual event of grace when it appears more concretely as a sacrament (Dulles 61).” This means the church is very important in order to realize the sign and the grace for its community in the world. The church is the sign that Christ still exists on this earth and he is still working on his followers who believe in him and his power to heal.
I believe that this model is least important for understanding the church because God may put us through things that not all can handle, and at certain points in life there is need for actual existence that God is here and helping us out. This model is just to say that God still exists in the church but does not give complete actions of deliverance amongst the church like the world of god through the Herald and the serving of others mainly poor and the marginalized like the Servant model. According to Dulles “As Christians we believe that God is good and merciful, that he wills to communicate himself to man in spite of man’s sinfulness and resistance to grace (Dulles 59),” meaning he is always willing to help us out even though it may not be in a timely manner help still arrives. According to Dulles “the Church as sacrament is present, the grace of Christ will not be absent. That grace, seeking its appropriate form of expression as grace inevitably does will compel men to prayer, confession worship, and other acts where by the Church externally realizes its essence (Dulles 62-63).” I believe this means God’s spirit will forever be around still watching over you and trying to guide you in the right way, but through signs in symbols not through words and wisdom like the Herald. Sometimes people need more than just a sign and symbols, they need action more than anything, making communication a problem with this model. When people come to church to communicate with God and get answers. According to Dulles “The Church, then, is the place where it appears most clearly that the love that reconciles men to God and to one another is a participation in what God communicates most fully in Christ (Dulles 63).” This means that the Church further continues the mission of Christ in the world, announcing the word of God, and converting people to Christianity and to follow in the word of Christ. Making communication a valuable effort of God’s message.
In Conclusion, Avery Dulles reason of further explaining the models of the church gave a sense to how the church functions and the beliefs of what is to come next. The Herald model is much of importance due to the fact of the way of communicating to a congregation. The Sacrament is not as important to understanding the church because it is not a physical sign that we realize and take into account that it is helping us. Reading “Models of the Church” really gave me a sense of how the church functioned and what people found to be crucial to a church community. One day I hope that people can appreciate my view on what model is important to the church and how crucial God’s word can be to the world.