What is the MISSION of the Church? An Overview
Have you considered this question recently? What is the mission of the church? The answer to this question is essential to each person wishing to live a life that glorifies God.
Paul warns Timothy, “no soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” 2 Timothy 1:4 If you are a Christian today, you have been enlisted by the King of Kings to participate in the completion of a task. We must make sure that we are not getting entangled in things that distract us from the ultimate purpose for being enlisted. This is true of the individual and of the church as a whole. The mission of the church “is to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit…” according to Kevin DeYoung.
In the Gospel of Matthew, the author has spent the entire book demonstrating that Jesus is the King of the Jews. He was the promised Messiah that had been spoken of for over two thousand years. He records Jesus birth, his baptism, his ministry, his miracles, his trial, execution and his resurrection. The resurrection ultimately demonstrated that Jesus was who he said he was. The entire Gospel is culminated in the last chapter of Matthew. Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The disciples needed to understand who they were working for, who was giving them their task. It was the King of Kings. All of creation, both heaven and earth, belong to him and he has a mission for His servants. “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 obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In Matthew 28:17-20 Jesus commands his followers to make disciples by going to all (ethne) people groups on the planet, preaching the gospel and baptizing them, then teaching them all that He has commanded us. We will do this work in his power, because Jesus will be with us all the way to the end. This message of the King of Kings was to go to the end of the earth.
Luke records very similar words from Jesus in his Gospel. Jesus has just been raised from the dead and makes himself known to the disciples. Luke says that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” They were still not understanding what Jesus was up to, so Jesus clearly tells them. “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:45-49. Repentance of forgiveness of sins is to be be proclaimed to all nations. The task is so daunting that Jesus tells his followers they are not to begin this mission until He empowers them with the Holy Spirit.
The Book of Acts is a recording of the obedience of the disciples to the mission that they were given by Christ. Acts 1 picks up where Luke 24 left off. Jesus says, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The rest of Acts records the power of the Spirit working through followers of Jesus to spread the Gospel all over the known world. Men and women died for their testimony yet by God’s power they continued to speak boldly.
In conclusion, the mission of the church is not all that the church is supposed to do. There are other commandments given in the New Testament that we are to obey in our lives. However, the mission, or the task of the church, is very specific. Take the message of the perfect, crucified and resurrected Christ to every corner of the globe. Jesus says, ‘I have other sheep who are not of this fold, I must bring them in also.” This must be done. If our lives are not specifically aimed at this target, we are wandering aimlessly and getting nowhere. Please ask yourself this very important question. “Is the mission that Jesus has given, my mission?”