Monday, June 4, 2012

The Mission of the Church


I rarely get a chance to see movies in the theater.  I was lucky enough to get a chance to see the new Mission Impossible movie a few months ago with some siblings.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie; and consider it the best of the series so far.  One of the key lines to every one of the movies is the line "This is your mission, should you choose to accept it!"  Then comes the dangerous mission for Cruise and his band of misfits to join together so they can come out victorious and make another movie.  I look forward to the next installment!

Anyway, I fear that many Christians take this same approach to the mission we have been given.  We think that God is saying "This is your mission, should you choose to accept it."  The problem is that this isn't really a choice.  Either you are a follower of Christ, or you're not.  There is no middle ground, and once you have chosen to follow Him, you have chosen to be part of His mission.  The great commission, in case you don't know, is to go "into all the nations" and "make disciples".

I will admit that there are similarities to the missions of the movies.  It can be dangerous.  It's a risk to take something into the world which they may reject.  It can also seem impossible.  The problem is that because of the danger, many bow out, thinking they can be a follower of Jesus without actually following Him into the world.

Others do go out, but they think that in order to be successful, they have to have the latest gadgets or trends.  But that never really does the job.  We have that in America, and the church here is failing.  In other countries where they don't have these things, numbers are growing by the thousands every single day.  Why?  Because it's not the latest things which drive the mission of God, but God Himself.  (insert corny "Mission Possible: Holy Ghost Protocol" here)

In his book "The Forgotten Ways", Alan Hirsch tells us that the early church in a period of 210 years, grew from around 25,000 to 200,000,000.  That is a lot of growth, and they did it without so many of the things we take for granted.  They didn't have buildings for the most part, because for much of that time it was illegal to be a Christian.  They didn't have structure, and they didn't have the New Testament.  They would have had portions, but that was really it.  They didn't have seminaries to train their leaders, and they didn't have worship teams and overhead projection.  Interestingly enough, they even made it harder for you to join the church than most of us would even dream of today.

So what did they have?  They had the Holy Spirit, and they had the commission of Christ.  They took those things and went out.  This is our call today.  Let us not wait until we are trained or educated enough, but call on God's Spirit and move out in obedience.

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