A Missions-Minded Church
Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of nations...” (refer to Matthew 28:19-20) These verses are most often referred to as the Great Commission. It is God’s desire for us to be missions-minded. To make disciples, to help others become worshippers as well.
I was asked recently how one would know if a church is missions minded. My conclusion is that in order to see if a church is missions minded, you have to see if the individual members of the congregation are missions minded. How can you tell this?
Being missions minded means having a maturity in Christ. Being mature in Christ means understanding God's passion and pursuing it. What is God's passion? I believe John Piper said it best: that God's passion is to glorify Himself and enjoy Himself forever. As mature believers, our passion should be the same - and we should be pursuing this in our lives. A believer who is marked by this would have a heart's longing of Hab 2:14, praying that the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. It should be an all-consuming passion that God be glorifed in his or her life. I believe that the pursuit of glorifying God IS being missions minded.
But what does this really look like? Well, the other Sunday, I was a little late to service so I was running toward our building. An older brother from our congregation called my name, and I explained that I was running because we were late, and in a mocked tone he said, "whoop-tee!" It cut at my heart. We don't need to be legalistic about church attendance for the sake of logging it off in a book or anything like that, and even if the service isn't up to par in our expectations, still, the prevailing issue is that we go to the house of God to worship the King of all kings and to offer Him our very best. We should come to worship service with reverence; it should be important to us to worship Him corporately; it should be important to us to be on time if not early so that we can sit and settle our hearts and give ourselves to the Lord before service begins. A missions minded church would have members who revered God.
Secondly, a passion for spreading God's glory means that wherever you are, whatever you do, you are an ambassador for Chirst - you are a missionary. Every circumstance or role or place that you are put in becomes a mission field. Everything ordinary becomes extraordinary in the hand of Christ. A mission minded church would have members who witnessed and experienced and participated in extraordinary things in what would've and could've been ordinary circumstances. In other words, "work" at the office would be a mission field. In other words, they would be standing firm on God's standard - no cutting corners, no coarse joking, not even a HINT of immorality! In other words, they would be sharing the gospel with their actions, demeanor, speech, mannerisms. In other words, (and this is the greatest evidence of a mission minded church) most of the believers in a missions minded church should be either 1. praying for a nonbeliever who they are proactively loving (witnessing to) on a regular basis or 2. discipling someone they just led to Christ. You know that members of a congregation are missions minded if they are actively participating in furthering the glory of God by evangelism.
Other ways you know a church is missions minded is if the members CARE about missionaries, persecuted Christians around the world, unjust acts of violence in this nation, etc. If the people are praying and really heart-achingly care about those who are hurt or hurting - not just flippant two cent prayers - but true heartache I-want-to-do-something-about-it prayers, then you know they are missions minded. No bubble, selfish, me-centered world for them! No what-can-God-do-for-me health and wealth gospel or what makes me feel good...
Worship at a missions minded church would not be full of me-centered songs. Not so much what I can do for God or what God can do for me but songs that reflect WHO God is and songs that give praises to Him. Compare "Lord, look upon my need" or "Light the fire again" --- which are ok songs, by the way, to "Holy, holy, holy" or "God of Wonders". True worship takes you out of your self-pity and problems and opens your eyes and enlightens your heart that everything is going to be okay because God is sovereign, God is holy, God is in control. A missions minded church would have God at the center of worship... a reminder of how big God is... how Jer 32:18b-19a, "O great and powerful God whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds" is true. Worship that reminds us that it's not just all about us - it's not even about "them" - it's about HIM, about His glory.
What else? The church should be caring and praying about the missionaries as well as *supporting* them (monetarily, I mean). Oh yes, and I mean overseas missionaries. A missions-minded church would be sending out TONS of missionaries. If God is at work and moving in the midst of a congregation and showing them His passion, then people should also be enthralled in what thrills Him. There should be hundreds of people jumping up at the chance and screaming, "Here am I, please, please send me!"
And, finally, this brings me to the last point, if "everyone is a missionary," then brothers and sisters in a congregation should be caring about each other and praying for each other... giving each other money if need arises and REALLY in each other's lives: rebuking, encouraging, praying on the spot, pushing each other out of sin and temptation and bad habits, etc.
I believe that CBC is very far from being a truly missions minded church. There are a handful of members in the congregation who are missions minded (and not all of em are aiming for full-time ministry! you can be missions minded but not aiming for full time ministry -- although I can't see how you can hardly help joining the forces if you get to be enthralled in God's passion!). However, I would say that the majority of CBCers are sleepers (Eph 5:14). We would be a very different church if we would allow God to take ahold of our hearts and love the things that He truly loves, pursue the things that He pursues and break over the things that His heart breaks over. Wouldn't you agree? But what will we do about it? That is the question I ask myself.
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Created: May 1, 2000
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Copyright Mary Ann Nguyen