As Christians we have one mission: to receive and teach the Word and to Faithfully Recieve the Sacraments.
The mission of the Church essentially is stated in Matthew 28:
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 all that I have commanded you” (18-20)
God bids us to be faithful, faithful to his Word and his Will. He wants us to do as he as commanded: baptize, teach, commune and help build each other in the Spirit
God has called our pastors to help do some of these things mentioned. It is through the Office of The Keys that we recieve these gifts which God has asked us to share. Some might think this is useless tradition or feel that there nothing important doing with the office of clergy but God ordained this and the Scriptures tell us this.
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” Eph. 4:11
God wants his people go to church, to draw near him and to receive his Means of Grace. You see we are always in need of God. We always need to hear his Word and receive his Body and Blood for the forgivness of sins. This is essentially the mission of the Chuch. The one and only mission of the Church.
The problem, is that this seems to be always forgotten or deluded by well intentional folk who seem to think that there is more than one mission. Or that other missions trump what God has prescribed. Perhaps they think that one and only mission of the Church needs a boost. That it really can’t be this simple, that the church needs to be more complicated and elaborate then it really needs to be.
Some try to think pragmatic and yet seem to make it less. Some think that the Holy Spirit is not enough but rather we need a gimmick or an orgnaized event to get people’s attention. All of this seems to ignore one of the basic cores behind the mission. That while the Church’s one mission is to serve her people. It is from this service people can serve others. This idea that we need to add more or simply do something outside the natural way in which God has provided for us to spread the Gospel is at root with a deception that twists the real concept of missional work.
The mission of the Church is to be what God intended it to be, to provide a place for sinners to receive God’s mercy and to be given the tools to stay faithful to this.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Cor. 15:58
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15
We can see from the verses above that if we are faithful and to continue to be trust in God’s Work. If we honestly share our hope and encourage others to share in that hope that comes from The Work of God in is his Means of Grace. We then are doing natural missional work which comes only from receiving those free gifts which have been given to provide us everything we need here on Earth. They even provide us the means to be missional without addition “vision”. Those gifts are the mission of God here and now. They are the one and only mission of the Church.
Now I do agree as individual Christians we have our duty to share this great mercy of God at work in our Church. We do it by bringing people to the Church but how we do that matters. This is where the confusion starts to settle in. We in our sinful pride think that the truth of God which goes beyond all understanding, somehow needs creative marketing ideas to take hold. We think that others need something different then what we were given to be made Christian. We say that God’s Word needs a filter for some and not others. Sadly this is a destructive trend with God’s people is all the rage and it is evident in other heretical fads and doctrines. We tend to think not everyone needs Jesus, not everyone needs the Holy Spirit and that somehow people need something earthly to give them truth. God uses some things to teach us his truth. It though is not how these people think.
In a sense we become hypocrites and heretics because what we say in one corner of our lips in contradicted with the other. This is foolishness of man so well spoken about in The Bible. There is a lie in modern Evangelicalism and sadly even in Confessional Lutheran circles, that somehow we need to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this stems from the idea that somehow we ourselves came to God rather than the reverse. If you think conversion is done with human reason or desire, then you can very easily believe other potentinal conversion with others is done with human tactics and logic. Essentially this idea robs God of his glory and the work of Christ is rendered useless. If you think appealing to man’s fallen nature is key to bring them truth then you are openingly interfeing with the real mission.
You see it is not us but God that converts us. God creates a new creature that is born in grace and granted faith. It is the sole work of the Spirit that makes Christians and not tired cliche gimmicks. It is not done by being more effective in evangelism. It is sourced by God Alone.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor. 5:17
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. “ Romans 5:1-2
“these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” 1 Cor. 2:10-12
“and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” Col 2:10-13
There are many more verses I can put here but the truth is unescapeble. God in his mercy chose to save us by sending his Son to take our place. It is in the Spirit of God (i.e. The Holy Spirit) that we recieve the saving faith of this. God not man is the source of all things especially of our faith. To think that our mission requires anything but being faithful to God is itself an invention of man that is heretical.
To think our actions have anything to do with this process is a problem. While God does at time use us to help others it is not our own work because that work is a merit of a faith that is not our own. In fact the only way to disrupt the mission is to think we need to add to it. If we do this we are not giving people the Gospel. We are then being anti missional.
Our mission is to be faithful stewards to the gifts of Grace and to perseve them in our local parishes. We are to be faithful to this whole process. We are to allow God to work in us in a very organic way, in our vocations. You see it is God granting us his peace that helps us maintain our faith in which we turn around and use in our vocation. While the Church’s one mission is to faitfully provide what God has given. This is what gives us as individuals the means to be faithful in our homes and at work.
It is God working in us that allows our work to provide for others. This is a fundamental problem with people denying this principle they want to add a step or create something fake that organically is a given with those who faithful. The issue of being missional at church and in our lives is not an issue of marketing or reaching people. It really is about us being faithful. It is a faith issue and all faith issues come from preaching.
If any pastor in any church wants to improve evangelism and stewardship, they need not look any further than to their office.
It is in preaching and teaching. It is in proper catechising and discipline that these come from. You see God is the source of all things and all problems in every church stem from whether they have being fed. This is the truth that evangelism starts and ends with what happens in church. If you pollute the source of our strength than the flesh does not need much to run rampant with heresy.
We receieve The Gospel and then share it with the world in our vocations. If we do not have solid teaching.
We are to from out of our vocation give support to the local church in which these gifts are given. We are to help bring folks to the place ordained by God for giving his Gospel, his church. We also need to hold our pastor’s responsible for preaching solid truth which is the source of all things.
So many people want to confuse or make this mission a more complicated thing. This is usually do to our old Adam wanting make himself front and center in all things. We in our sin struggle to realize that God has done it all. That in Christ we share in his victory over the grave. We are not are own but we are God’s new children in Baptism. Therefore the mission is fairly straight forward.
You see we are part of the mission.
If you noticed I used the word vocation. It is important to state that the first step is being fed at church which then empowers us in our vocation (i.e our work, relationships & responsiblities). This is the part confused because this is not meant to be a focal of the church to do this but to rather give us the needed gifts of God which all things including our mission comes from. Without soild truth being taught. Without the sacramanents being recieved by the Christian there is no mission in our vocation.
So in conclusion the truth is simple. The only mission is that of what is done through God’ s Means. It is through this that the individual uses their faith in their vocation to serve as beacons to which the light is shown through. Christians complicate this mission when they seek to add or water down the essential gifts of God in his Church. To be a true missionary require us to be faithful to God’s Word and his desire to serve us in the Church. The real tools of the mission are not cheap glimmicks but solid theology being taught with solid liturgy being practiced. The mission does not include generic tracts or host some organized event to get unchurched to come. It is Christians practicing their faith by coming to church and allowing God to fed them and provide them the wisdom which comes only from the Spirit. Christians discounting the work of God not only are interfering with the mission but also risk casuing spiritual disrest and division neither are a benefit.