I’m laying out my vision for our church across several posts. There are eight pieces to it. The last two pieces work together:
I envision a congregation intentionally making Christ-followers in their immediate communities and around the world.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NET)
I envision a congregation giving its community a glimpse of heaven on earth.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NET)
Growth does not happen by accident – not plant growth, not human body growth, and not church body growth. If the Church – God’s people – do not intentionally build bridges with people who do not yet follow Jesus Christ and help them come to him for radical life change, it will not happen.
Now, I believe that God can and does save people in his time and with his power, not ours. But you can’t get around the fact that God has chosen people to spread the good news of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and offer of salvation. And when people don’t do that people don’t receive Christ. Paul’s series of questions is very clear:
“How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? … Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.” Romans 10:14-15, 17 (NET)
One way of preaching Christ is to open up the Bible and let the Written Word show Christ, the Living Word. We need people who are willing to preach and teach others God’s Word.
Another way of preaching Christ is to open up our lives and let the world see what the Living Word does to a life given to him. This is what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:16 above – “Let your light shine before people.” When they see it, then they will “give honor to your Father in heaven.” How is God honored most? When his people do his work and one more person comes to him in repentance and faith.
My vision is not just an auditorium full of unbelievers. I want to see an auditorium full of unbelievers being radically transformed into high-impact Christ-followers who storm the enemy’s territory in search of more people to bring to Christ.
Paul understood clearly that his mission was to preach the gospel to the heathen. The purpose for which the church exists is missions. If you take the missionary idea out of the church, you have a life without an objective, a barren tree that cumbers the ground… Everyone who accepts the invitation “come” must immediately hear the imperative command “go”. The supreme business of the church is to make Christ known to all.” (Robert P. Lightner, The Fundamentals for the Twenty-First Century, p. 337)
What is your part in that?