A few posts back, I posted a positive description (from N.T. Wright) on what "church" means for many. Later on in his book Simply Christian, Wright defines the nature and purpose of the church in a few tightly packed sentences. It’s the most foundational, comprehensive defintion of the church I’ve ever seen:
"The church is the single, multiethnic family promised by the creator God to Abraham. It was brought into being through Israel’s Messiah, Jesus; it was energized by God’s Spirit; and it was called to bring the transformative news of God’s rescuing justice to the whole creation."
I love it because every word in those sentences matters. No fluff, just a terse, essential definition.