Every year (especially around Easter) I hear of another church doing something crazy to get people in the door of their building:
◊ One church gave away a car.
◊ One church surprised random attenders with a shopping spree.
◊ One church dropped Easter eggs on top of people’s heads from a helicopter.
Somehow I don’t think that Easter eggs or Oprah-like bribery is exactly what Jesus had in mind when He told us to make disciples of all nations. Jesus has given the church a specific mission and He has also given us the means to pursue that mission.
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.
The Spirit of God
Jesus told His disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit as a Helper. Just before He ascends into heaven, Jesus says to His followers, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Because the Spirit of God indwells us, the local church has received supernatural power, spiritual gifts, encouragement, guidance, wisdom, comfort, and strength. These are all gifts that do not come from human abilities, innovation, or training (though by God’s grace He has given us those things too). In other words, anyone can have leadership skills or marketing skills but only the church has the Spirit of God dwelling among them and empowering them to pursue the mission.
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.
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
Would Jesus start a multi-site church? This is the question that stuck with me when I finished watching the video of two multi-site guys and one who is theologically against multi-site. However, none of these three men ever ask this question. In fact, as engaging as this video was, there are a lot of questions that they never address that I’d love to hear them answer. Watch the video and then join the discussion. Are there questions you would’ve asked?
Here are a few of my questions:
1. Would Jesus start a multi-site church? If He had the technology then that we have now would He have used it? Jesus was incarnational and attractional but I don’t see Him as being attractional in the same way that MacDonald and Driscoll are attractional.
2. Would Paul start a multi-site church? When Paul said I have become all things to all people so that by all means I might save some does “all things” and “all means” include video venues? If he could’ve spoken via video to the Church in Colossae, Philippi, Ephesus and Galatia all at the same time, would he? Isn’t Paul’s statement largely about contextualization and not about indiscriminately using everything the culture uses when communicating ideas?