The Mission of the Church
“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” — Oswald J. Smith
Strong words for a nation, and a church, in need of a strong message. It seems that over the last several months every headline and news story in the US has become more and more shocking than the last. “Did you hear about …” has become the opening line of our coffee shop conversations as we tell the tale of the latest scandal, international atrocity, or legislative decision.
For believers in Jesus, questions often rise in our hearts, “What should be our response?” “How should I feel about changes in my world that I do not fully understand or agree with?” “How can I show the love of Jesus while communicating a standard of righteousness to the world around me?”
There have been many recent social media posts and writings from well respected leaders discussing these very questions. There has also been a recent outcry for many people of faith to “raise up a standard.” I wonder however if we are raising the right standard.
It seems to me that the more radical the changes in the culture around us, the louder the church (especially in the US) has proclaimed its distaste for culture.
We, the church, have made it more than crystal clear those things we stand against. We’ve chosen to display our standard of right behavior, right living, right choices and right morals by pointing the finger at all the wrong behavior, wrong living, wrong choices and wrong morals.
Meanwhile we seem to ignore parts of the Bible that clearly give us our one mandate from our savior: “GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS” (Matt 28:19)
Today in this world of 7.3 billion people there are a little over 3 billion people who are still unreached. Today 150,000 people will die. 45,000 of those will pass into eternity having never once heard the message of the Good News of Jesus the Savior. While this is a tragic reality, all too often we simply ignore its impact in our daily lives.
Here are a few examples:
• Christians make up 33% of the world’s population, but receive 53% of the world’s income and spend 98% of it on themselves. (aboutmissions.org; Barrett and Johnson 2001)
• American Christians spend 95% of offerings on home-based ministry, 4.5% on cross-cultural efforts in already reached people groups, and .5% to reach the unreached. (aboutmissions.org; The Traveling Team)
• Christians spend more on the annual audits of their churches and organizations ($810 million) than on all their workers in the non-Christian world. (aboutmissions.org; World Evangelization Research Center)
• The average American Christian gives only 1 penny per day to global missions (aboutmissions.org; Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions, 142)
I believe the culture around us is more clear on what the church stands against than what the church actually stands for. If there is a standard to be raised let it be the standard of reaching the world with love instead of building walls of separation and segregation in the name of morality and righteousness.
My own righteousness is as filthy rags. My divine commission however is honorable, Godly and I can not ignore or run from it. The world around you and I is in desperate need of the same saving grace that was offered to us while in our greatest time of need and moral depravity.
I believe this world will not be won or impacted by us simply screaming our oppositions to it with greater volume; but in the selfless love displayed by the life of Jesus.
He gave us His all.
How then can we give so little? How can we spend our blessings on ourselves (defending our flags and our marriages and our “morality”) while the world around us simply dies without hope? This may be the greatest tragedy of all.
Let us not live one more day fighting over issues.
Let us instead raise a standard of love and giving and offering our lives as living sacrifices in worship towards our King and His one Commission for everyone who call themselves a Believer. Let us today GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND MAKE DISCIPLES.
Let us begin today to give and to go. You can take steps today to put action to your compassion.
You can invite your neighbor to dinner and begin a relationship through which you can share the love of Jesus.
You can apply for a passport and go on a short-term mission trip.
You can move to another country and live as a missionary.
You can spend your Starbucks coffee money today on support for a missionary risking their very lives on foreign soil.
You can share love today without picking a fight over an issue.
You can bless someone who worships different than you, marry’s different than you, dresses different you or talks different than you.
You have been blessed and you can offer that same blessing to those around you and around the world.
The completion of the Great Commission IS within our grasp if we will simply choose to Go and to SERVE and to CHANGE this world with the love of Jesus.