Embracing our mission
What is the church supposed to do? What is it supposed to look like? Since September, our church has been studying the Begin Anew discipleship series. The most recent segment of study, belonging to community have led to several discussions of what the church should look like. We as a church have a pretty good understanding that a church is a community of believers and not a building. We are called to be something more beyond just a Sunday morning gathering. What is the church’s mission?
One person answered that the church’s mission should be fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus gave to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, “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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” I think this person is right.
Yet, if that person is right, if the Great Commission is central to the church’s mission, it’s fair to ask, “How do we live it out at Berlin Mennonite?” Certainly we have a mission statement that seems to include it: Rooted in Jesus. Growing in faith. Branching out in love. Still, we don’t say how we plan to branch out in love.
When I read Jesus commissioning the disciples, the word “go,” really jumps out at me. It’s a command or a request to the disciples. It means leaving where they currently are to do mission, which is making disciples. But I don’t think Jesus said this only to them. Jesus is also telling us. We are the ones who are to go and make disciples.
But if we are the ones called to go and make disciples, why do we often think that the church is the only place where Christian life happens? What if we became a sending church, and church that believed that discipleship making happened outside the four walls of the church? What if our mission meant that church was the place to be commissioned for ministry outside rather than the place to go for ministry?
It’s a challenging thought. I’m challenged by it because I can sometimes think that my place as a pastor is at church in my office. And yet I know that the best place for me to pastor is to be outside the church building, visiting schools, hospitals, and homes. I am working to change this. Jesus calls us to a new way of being the church. May his words continually challenge and encourage to be faithful to his call. As a church, what are new ways we can live this out? As disciples of Jesus, how are you making disciples outside of church?