The True Mission of the Church in a Missional World
Pillar – stoo’-los from stuo (to stiffen; properly akin to the base of 2476); a post (“style”), i.e. (figuratively) support:—pillar
A pillar is something which holds everything else which is on top of it. The Church is to support, protect and promote the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the ground or foundation of all things. The tragedy of today’s church is that she has lost her way as that pillar and ground in favor of that which is convenient.
We know that the simple method and motivation of the Church is the Person of Jesus Christ. Though this seems all too simple, the reality is that most of the “church” has indeed left their first love, and has become man centered (be it the person in the pulpit, or the person in the pew).
What is the mission of the church though? Today we are most definitely commanded to, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15).” But, the question we have to face is this. “Who is to go?” As the Apostles were sent by Jesus, we as “apostles” are sent to evangelize the world around us.
This is where the local church comes in. The local church is a place for “believers” to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). In short it is a place for them to fellowship together, learn together and lean together! All for the Glory of God, and His Holiness.
When the Church is focused on the work of Christ, the individual members are then empowered to “go!”
We need to be careful to grow in Christ, and not be focused so much on growing numerically, basing teaching upon the felt needs of people, or upon social justice. God will take care of those issues in the hearts of people. When the emphasis is on “growth,” the tendency s to become pragmatic, doing whatever is necessary to draw people.
When I began in the ministry some 20 plus years ago, I believed in that type of philosophy. Recently I looked back into my notes, and found this which I wrote to myself; “We must be like a fisherman using a lure to get people to come to church. Once they take the bait, we can pull them in, and give them the gospel.”
In hindsight, this way is not only misguided, but is sinful as well.
This methodology is used in many churches today. Bringing people in through the use of worldly music, and catering to human needs, will bring in the crowds, merely entertaining goats, instead of feeding sheep. But the reality is the fact of Jesus Christ: His birth, death and His glorious resurrection! That is what needs to be the proclamation in and by the church of Jesus Christ. When He is lifted up, all men will be drawn to Him (John 12:32)!
Tragically the pulpit has been replaced by programs. Hymns focused on Christ have been replaced by self exalting worship choruses and expository teaching has been replaced by life coaching. The church’s duty is not to make disciples through human measures. She has a duty to proclaim, or herald, the finished work of Christ Jesus, our Lord. The amazing thing with that is that through the work of the Word combined with the Holy Spirit, people are continually sanctified in His image, not just becoming a better person in this life.
In conclusion, preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God may not attract the crowds, but it will encourage and edify the saint. This may not cause the flesh to get overly excited, but it will feed the spirit, slowly building up the Christian UNTO all good works.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. – 2 Timothy 3:10-17
Bob Picard, Pastor
God’s Grace Bible Church, Millbury, MA http://www.godsgracebc.org