Our call as disciples of Christ is to be the Church God has meant for us to be.
And our call as a church is to make known the wisdom of God in His rich variety.
In Ephesians, Paul writes:
"so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 3:10 New Revised Standard
Intrigued by this common mission and the great variety of kinds of churches that have developed during the centuries, I wrote my Senior Seminar Paper at Great Lakes Christian College on which marks could be called the essential marks of the church.
I identified five of them.
2. Presence of the Holy Spirit
I would like to continue this sharing with the third one: Discipleship.
In the History of Christendom, being born in a specific region made you automatically part of the church, but the story of the Bible implies a responsibility of commitment to God’s covenant on a personal level.
Repeatedly, in the story of Israel, the people of God are challenged to take a stand and commit to obey Torah (Moses, Joshua, Ezra). Jesus is continually inviting his people to “follow” him even at the cost of their own lives. Many Epistles address the congregation as a whole, calling them to obedience and sanctification.
The church realizes not only the necessity of being a community in which the very presence of the Spirit finds its expression, but also the urge of a collective acknowledgment of the call to obedience to God’s revelation.
The community, led by the Spirit, makes God’s presence possible. This presence helps the members of the church to know how to walk the walk of Jesus in their day and time.
The mark then is not the correct theology, nor the particular way they feel led to practice sacraments and preach the gospel, but it is the gathering around the testimony of God’s revelation seeking to align their lives to that testimony.
This way, the Bible’s authority is not a specific doctrine, but it becomes the question that asks what the Bible says and the willingness to submit to it in obedience.
 Virgil Vogt, The Roots of Concern: Writings on Anabaptist Renewal 1952-1957 (Eugene: Wipf and StockPublishers, 2009), 171.