What is a Mission-Minded Church?
I wanted to take a moment and reflect a bit upon the message we heard at Vann Avenue from Dr. David Sills (Reaching and Teaching International Ministries). I am sharing from my strategy, with regards to listening to a sermon with the intent to hear and obey. I go back and reflect upon the notes I have taken and ask, “Lord, how do you want me to respond in faith and obedience.” Here are the marks of a mission-minded church Dr. Sills drew from the Scripture (Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3) and questions I ask myself.
Mark #1–A mission-minded church consists of lay people sharing the Gospel.
Sharing the gospel isn’t the duty of only the pastors. Sharing the gospel should be the delight of all people who have been saved through the gospel. The point being made, however, is that a church that is mission-minded consists of all people sharing the gospel. Am I? Am I being obedient in this area of life? When was the last opportunity I embraced to share the good news of Jesus?
Mark #2–A mission-minded church is sharing the Gospel with people not like them.
The church might be the only place within a community where there is no dividing line between ethnics, races, or socio-economic structures. Paul reminds us in Galatians 3:27-29 that what we have in common internally, Jesus Christ, far exceeds those external differences. Do I only find myself around people who are only like me? Are there people who, because I get uncomfortable, I will not be around? Do I struggle with the sin of racism? Do I look down upon people who are not like me or act like me?
Mark #3–A mission-minded church has wise, humble leadership who raises more wise, humble leaders.
One could mistakenly apply this only to the pastor, as if he is the only leader. Now I do believe it starts with his leadership, but Paul reminds us in Ephesians 3:11-13 that the aim of leadership is to train the saints (plural) for the work of ministry (life of the church body). Do I recognize my weaknesses? Do I even know my strengths? Do I possess humility or do I intend things to always go “my” way?
Mark #4–A mission-minded church has sound “healthy” teaching.
Here is how I go about this mark. If I am a teacher, do I prepare faithfully for the task of teaching the Word of God? If I am not a teacher, do I study my Bible, so that if someone is teaching contrary to Scripture, I can identify it? This approach leaves no one outside the responsibility of reading and studying their Bible. Am I spending regular, unhurried time in the Bible?
Mark #5–A mission-minded church has a clear commitment to Christ.
I loved the illustration Dr. Sills used for this mark from Spurgeon. In this church, leaders may come and leaders may go, but what will remain is the constant pursuit of God’s glory and His kingdom. How does this play out? Am I more concerned with my own preferences verses God’s word? Do I elevate my own preferences and lay them on others as the only biblical choice? Although we value tradition and heritage, will we elevate it to the authority of Scripture? The mission-minded church recognizes the change of culture around them, but holds on, with a firm grip, the truths of Scripture which always point to Christ (Luke 24:27).
Mark #6–A mission-minded church is a generous church.
According to the latest numbers from the SBC, it is reported that only 5% of the church tithes obediently. This is the beginning point. However, not only financially, a mission-minded church is also generous with their time and talent. If a detective were to have possession of all my financial records over the year 2010, would there be enough evidence to convict me of being a Christian based on my generosity to the church or ministries of the church?
Mark #7–A mission-minded church takes personal involvement in sending missionaries both internationally and nationally.
This church not only wants to be financially giving, but also people sending. I am going to assume there are a few people reading this who have thought about missions. You have thought about going on a short-term mission trip or maybe even the length of a summer (youth). What is keeping you from going? What is keeping you from planning one? Is He calling you to the mission field? Is He calling you to something that you know is only possible if He’s in it? That is where you want to be. You want to be leaning on His strength and not your own.
You know we sang the hymn Sunday, “Here am I Lord, send me.” I have always remembered what someone told me about that verse from Isaiah 6:8. They taught me that Isaiah wasn’t reminding God about his location but about his willingness. What about you?
A mission-minded church consists of mission-minded people. As I look to these marks, where do I need repentance and grace to be more like Christ? Which marks could I help someone else with who might be struggling? May we recognize this message from Dr. Sills as a gift from God, and seek to humbly obey.