Everyone has heard the old saying, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” I’m reminded of that debate when I think about the church and the church’s mission. You can read one of my favorite posts I’ve written about the mission of the church here.
I think there’s a lot in the sentence, “There’s a difference between ‘a mission for the church’ and ‘a church for the mission’.” I want to make my point clear. If you think about the beginning of the church, it wasn’t as if Jesus came up with the church and then decided, “Hmmmm. Now I’ve got to keep them busy. What could I find for them to do?” You know that’s not how it went down. Jesus had a mission and He wasn’t going to be around to do it. He was leaving. I believe He makes it clear that the mission He had in mind was a.) having His love shown through proclaiming His Gospel, or Good News, to the ends of the earth so people would have the opportunity to be reconciled to God and b.) having His love shown through action by helping others. He had a mission to see people saved by His sacrifice and cared for in His Name.
With a clear mission, He lets the disciples know how He’s going to accomplish that mission – and it’s through His people. And that’s where He sets up the Church. Jesus started the church because He had a mission He wanted accomplished. And when you are saved, you become part of the church, the body of believers, for which the mission awaits. We (the church) are not waiting for the mission, the mission is waiting for us. This should make it very easy for the church.
As the church, we know the mission Christ has for us. We were instituted to achieve His mission that existed before the church did. We need to re-focus on His mission for His mission awaits the church.