The church doesn’t do missions. The church is the mission. The church doesn’t exist to just do Sunday services but we exist to impact our community and culture throughout the week. When I was growing up in church you had different categories of missions. You had the local church that supported “home missions” which involved church planting in the United States and there was “foreign missions” which involved supporting missionaries in other countries. I can remember when we first started C3 and people would ask what are we doing for missions I would often say, “We are the mission!” What they were asking was are we going to support missionaries and take mission trips as they did in their former church. I didn’t mean that we shouldn’t think about having an impact globally I just felt like we needed to see what we are doing as a mission.
When you first start a church everyone is on mission. It is obvious that we are doing something new and we are all about a cause. Every week it takes the church body to prepare to have services and to reach out. When you are mobile there’s set up and take down not only for Sunday services but also for worship team practice as well as other ministries that are difficult to do on Sundays such as student ministries. But as a church gets older and more established it can be easy to get comfortable. People that begin attending that weren’t here in the early days didn’t experience the “all hands on deck” ministry days. So if we aren’t careful church can become primarily executing Sunday services and other programs. We feel the need to have more impact so we add more programs and activities in order to make a difference. The potential problem is that the programs and activities that we add actually can hinder the church from having their greatest impact on the community. Many people in our community are not interested in our church programs and have no plans on attending church because they may feel like it’s irrelevant and a private gathering that they may not fit into.
This past week we had a mid-week service that was powerful. It was an amazing time of worship and prayer. God showed up and it was an encouraging time for the core of our church. But after the service, I went to a sports bar and picked up some hot wings. And as I was waiting for my food I looked around the bar and I thought…. What would it take to reach the people here? In other words, what would it take to get the hope of Jesus to them? Perhaps we are expecting everyone to come to our church services if they want to experience God when actually we need to go to them! One of the declarations that we see in God’s word and that I declare often is, “I am sent!” If we aren’t careful we can think that means that perhaps one day I will be sent out to start a church, ministry or something new. When actually God sends us out every day to make an impact! I am so thankful that we have a sending God. God the Father sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins and God and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower and equip us to make a difference. And God sends us out to change the world!
Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(NIV)
I believe that God is calling the church to rethink how we do church. We must realize that God has put us here to have an impact. Perhaps we don’t need to create new ways to do ministry but we need to equip our people to look around and get involved where God is working already. If you are like me you instantly begin to think how can we organize this? And there’s nothing wrong with that and I believe it’s necessary. But I also believe that it must be somewhat organic as we live out the gospel to those around us. I believe you are where you are for a reason. It’s not an accident that you go to the school that you go to. It’s not an accident that you work where you do. It’s not an accident that you live where you live. So let’s look around and have an impact where we already are. What if we looked at our neighborhood as the mission field and hosted a gathering in our home or even host a small group in your home on parenting or another topic that non-Christians would be interested in? What if we looked at the sports team that our children are involved in a mission field and build relationships with the other parents? You may even volunteer to be the chaplain or the Mom or Dad of the team. What if we looked at our school as our mission field and began to pray for the other students? Perhaps God could use you to share the hope of Jesus with them and potentially start or get involved with a campus club that promotes the love of Jesus. What if we looked at our connect group as an opportunity to gather people together with an interest that you already have? If you ride motorcycles have a motorcycle small group. If you like to golf you can lead a golfing small group. If you already walk or run around your neighborhood why don’t you have a walking or running small group? You can take that idea and run with it. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you and He promises that He will!
So I pray that as our culture becomes more divided over politics and more comfortable with their possessions that the church will rise up and be on mission. If we don’t I’m afraid we will wake up and wonder what happened to our church. Where is everyone? Perhaps we got our eyes off the mission of what God has called us to do.