Jesus' first mention of the word "church" is found in Matthew 16:18 (ESV) where He declares, "... on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." The "rock" is the revelation of Who He is (the promised Messiah) and what He has come to do (establish His Father's kingdom on planet Earth). The Gospel creates the Church and the Church communicates the Gospel to the end that it advances the Kingdom of God through the earth - every tribe, every nation, every language, every people. And, though hell may attempt to hinder that mission, Jesus' promise is that hell will not, it cannot prevail. This is the Church's mission and mandate. It's why the Church exists.