When you ask people what is the mission of the church, you get lots of different answers from church people. Mission impossible it seems in church-land is to be united around a common mission. Over the past couple of years our church has renewed our understanding of our mission. We have worked to for clarity.
What is our mission?
To connect people to Jesus and help God change their lives.
This statement comes is directly influenced by Jesus’ last words to the disciples.
“Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Each person who trusts Christ needs to be taught about this mission which Jesus entrusted to his first followers and which they in turn entrusted to others and so on until it reached all the way to us. You need to decide if you will accept and take up this mission of Christ’s for yourself. If you want to be a disciple of his, understand this – you must make Jesus’ mission your mission. If we are to be His church, we must make His mission our mission.
But when you get right down to it, fulfilling our mission has very little to do with us and everything to do with Jesus. We say yes to him, and he directs us, shows us, gives us what we need, for it all to happen. He has all authority. He has the power to move heaven and earth so that his will can be accomplished. We get the honor of coming along for the ride. Let me give you an example. This comes from a missions ministry that is sharing the gospel among the unreached peoples of Asia.
One of the greatest privileges we have is when we meet and pray with church and ministry leaders throughout Asia. They share both exciting testimonies as well as the intense struggles they are experiencing. Recently we sat down for lunch with one leader who serves God in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
With mountains up to 6,800 meters (22,300 feet) above sea-level, Himachal Pradesh contains many hidden tribes and ethnic groups that have yet to hear the Name of Jesus. According to Joshua Project, Himachal Pradesh is home to a staggering 367 people groups, of which 350 remain unreached (less than two percent Christian).
Our friend shared an amazing story, which reveals how keen God is to reveal His Son to the precious unreached tribes of this remote region. Last year a teenage girl we will call Sarita heard the Gospel and believed. She was the first known Christian in her village, and the Hindu leaders were angry and tried to get her to renounce Christ. Sarita refused, and continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
One day Sarita went to the forest to cut grass for the animals. After working several hours she sat down for a rest, when a crow suddenly swooped down, snatched up her cell phone in its claws and flew off! The young sister was deeply upset, as she had not owned the phone for long and she used it to communicate with Christian friends and receive online Bible teaching.
When she returned home, Sarita shared what had happened and the Hindu villagers mocked her. Undeterred, the young Christian told them that Jesus is the Living God who controls nature. She told them she was going to pray and ask Him to do a miracle. This made them laugh even more!
Three days later, when many of the villagers were outside working in the hot sun, they saw an eagle slowly circling overhead, with an object in its claws. Thinking it was probably a mouse or other small animal, they watched in amazement as the eagle glided in low to the ground (something they never do). As it flew over the village it gently dropped the object right next to where Sarita was sitting, before flying off. The people rushed over and were astonished to see that the eagle had returned Sarita’s cell phone, still in perfect working condition!
This miracle had a powerful impact on the whole community. They no longer opposed Sarita’s faith, and they agreed that Jesus is the Living God. Many asked to hear about God, and the Gospel spread to many Hindus who had never previously heard the Name of Jesus Christ before in their lives. Many were saved and today there is a church in this remote village!
Why should I make Jesus’ mission my mission?
1. Because I follow where He leads
Since Jesus came to earth as a man in order to seek out and save those who were lost, if I am to follow him I must recognize that this is where he is leading. His hearts bleeds for people. He cares deeply for the ones who live in spiritual darkness. He wants to lead them out into the light, but in order to do that he needs our willing cooperation. You may not use the same words to describe your life mission, but if making disciples is not your life mission then you are not a disciple of Jesus. You may be a disciple of something else or even yourself, but you are not His disciple.
2. Because I obey His commands
This is not the great suggestion but the great commission. When we stand before the Lord on the day of judgment He will evaluate whether or not we have been faithful to his commands. He is our loving heavenly Father, but He is also our Lord and King. Jesus told his first disciples to teach obedience to His commands, not just knowledge about His commands. The world today wrestles with an example of Christ-followers who should be obedient to Christ but who live a very different way.
3. Because I live by the power of His presence
Through the Spirit the Lord empowers us to serve in a way that brings him glory. He is with us, and therefore we have all the strength, power and authority that we need to carry out His will. Because He is with us not one thing, that He asks us to do, is too difficult.
How do we fulfill our mission?
1. Share the Good News of Christ
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:17)
In order to connect people to Jesus the words of the gospel and the way we live our lives need to be connected also. The truth of God lived out in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit has a powerful effect. We should not be ashamed of the good news of Christ, but we need to live in such a way that we would not be ashamed before the Lord of anything that we do.
To not be ashamed doesn’t mean to be a jerk about talking to people. We are sharers of the greatest gift given to humanity – not pushers. Our challenge is to share it in a way with the people God puts in our lives so that they are able to see that it really is good news.
2. Help them understand their new identity
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It is such a privilege to be a partner with God as he transforms lives. A big part of this is helping someone to understand what God did inside of them when they trusted Christ.
– a new heart – led by the Spirit not the sinful nature
– a new name – Christ-like
– a new family – a people for his name
3. Train them to follow Christ
“Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
It’s not just a matter of sinning or not sinning. It’s a matter of thinking like Jesus. Sometimes church people get stuck in this black hole where they only think about spiritual maturity as whether or not they sin. It is rather about knowing God, being able to tell what His will is and having our minds changed so that we think like He thinks. And what He thinks is reality. Everything that doesn’t conform to God’s thoughts is not reality.
Our mission is to connect people to Jesus and help God change their lives. In what way is the Holy Spirit calling you to make a change in your life so that you live on mission for God?