In Part One, (link) I raised the question, “Could it be that the church is spending millions of dollars and sending tens of thousands of volunteers to engage in activities that regardless of what we call them are really not “missions” at all?” Wow! What a question. What a “stop-you-dead-in-your-ministry-tracks” question. Sadly, if we are honest, the answer for many churches and for many ministries is a resounding yes. The church in America is spending untold millions and mobilizing untold thousands of volunteers to engage in activities that are not missions because we have lost a biblical understanding of the essence of “missions”.
The word “missions” is plural. By its very etymological nature the word derives its meaning from the singular form “mission”. Without the foundation of “mission” there is no such thing as “missions”. Therefore, if the activities of the church; no matter how noble, how charitable, how religious, how sacrificial, how selfless are void of “mission”, we cannot by definition call our activities, “missions”. “Missions” by its very nature, flows from “mission”!
So, the real question, what is the mission of the church? Fortunately, the answer to this critical question comes to the church from the lips of Jesus, Himself. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt. 28:19); and just in case we miss this charge from our Lord in Matthew’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit repeated this command from Jesus multiple times in Scripture (Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; Acts 1). It’s as if Jesus screams to His church, “Don’t miss your mission!” Church our mission is not about conducting kids camps, orphan ministry, engaging in disaster relief, training international pastors, building homes, conducting medical clinics, leading conferences, or performing concerts. Our mission, the one given to us by Christ Himself, is nothing short of global disciple-making – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….” Lives, across the globe, transformed by the Christ of the Gospel all living to bring glory unto the Father – that is the mission of the church. It is my mission, it is your mission, and it is the mission of every follower of Jesus!
Therefore, since Jesus was so crystal clear about the mission of the church, at Cross the Culture, we have developed a biblical definition of “mission” that we offer for your consideration. It is our prayer that this definition will help guide you and your congregation as you live to reach the nations for the glory of our Lord.
The mission of the church is to glorify God by striving to fulfill the Great Commission;
intentionally proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to all peoples and nations and by intentionally
making mature, reproducing disciples of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ.
Once again, think on these things. Check back next week as we initiate a discussion on how to strategically turn our global ministries (2nd Great Commandment stuff) into global missions (Great Commission stuff). When that happens we are fulfilling both commands from Jesus!