The Mission of the Church

Do I really need to write about the mission of the local church? Is it even conceivable that there is confusion as to what the mission of the church ought to be?

Yet, from where I am sipping my coffee there are dozens of churches within walking distance that are not pursuing the mission to which they have been called. To make matters worse, many of the churches that are pursuing a God-given mission are doing so in ways that do not give glory to God. These churches use programs and plans to manufacture “success”.

It is important, then, to not only understand the Biblical mission of the church, but also the resources God has given us to pursue that mission.

The Mission

Probably the clearest articulation of our mission is found in Matthew 28:18-20:

Then Jesus came near and said to them, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ ~ Jesus

This isn’t the only commissioning statement made by Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark He tells us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” In the Gospel of Luke He tells us that we are “witnesses of these things.” In the Gospel of John Jesus says, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Jesus placed a lot of emphasis on mobilizing his followers to fulfill the mission.

The mission of the local church, then, is to make disciples of all nations.

I don’t think we can improve on that “mission statement” from Scripture. This is the purpose of every local church body and pursuing this mission together brings glory to God. To reject this mission and pursue another is to actively disobey our Lord Jesus.

9 Questions We Need To Ask

To determine whether or not we are on track to fulfill our mission, a few diagnostic questions could be asked:

  • Are our church leaders intentionally modeling a commitment to making disciples?
  • Is our preaching producing disciples who make disciples who make disciples?
  • Are the programs and ministries of our church contributing to fulfilling the Great Commission? Or are they simply services rendered to make things easier on our members?
  • Does our budget reflect a sacrificial commitment to making disciples locally and globally?
  • Do we place emphasis on membership covenants and church discipline or do we feel like those might offend someone?
  • Are our small groups and Sunday School classes producing mature disciples or are they just a context where we can a) socialize or b) show off our Bible knowledge?
  • Are our facilities an asset or a liability to the mission of the church?
  • Are we willing to put everything on the table to ensure that we are obeying Jesus, glorifying God, and pursuing the mission to make disciples of all nations?
  • Is our church using the means of God to fulfill the mission of God?

In order for the local church to bring glory to God and be obedient to Jesus’ commands we must use Jesus’ means to pursue Jesus’ mission.

What about you? Are you willing to ask these questions? Is the mission of your church to make disciples of all nations? What are some distractions keeping you from fulfilling that mission? 

Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

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