A Church ‘On Mission’

“The church exists by missions, just as fire exists by burning.” That famous quote from theologian Emil Brunner speaks volumes about what drives the people of God to do what they do and be who they are. We are, if nothing else, a mission organization.

It is so encouraging to see that heart for missions continue to spread around this family of faith we call Shelby Crossings. It
This Sunday, we’ll “send out” a couple who are literally selling out (and selling off their belongings), buying a one-way ticket to Uganda, to commit their lives to making disciples and serving Jesus by loving the people there in His name. We’ll also be sending out a team from our church going to Lesibovu, Swaziland–for the third straight summer–to minister to the children at the CarePoint there. We already have another young lady from our church family who is spending her summer serving in another area of Swaziland, and we had another who just returned from a couple of weeks on mission in the jungles of Peru.
On Tuesday night, a group from our church will make their way to downtown Birmingham for the second time in nine days to serve dinner to the homeless men of the Firehouse Shelter. It won’t be across the ocean, but it will be living out kingdom ministry to “the least of these,” just as our Master commanded us to do.
This week, we also delivered more than 500 items of food that our children collected during our Vacation Bible School last week, to a local mission organization to be distributed to those in need. And we will soon be sending another 100 pounds of beans and peas to a different food pantry ministry that serves our community.
And that’s not even mentioning the dozens of ministries and missionaries around the world with which our church partners, both with our prayers and our financial resources, to share the gospel, plant churches, and meet the needs of the orphan and widow.
Yes, this may be a bit of an exceptional week, but in some ways it’s just a picture of who we are–at least I hope that’s true. Which brings us back to Brunner’s quote from above. He was saying, in essence, that a church that is not “on mission” is, well, whatever it is, it’s not really being a church. When we cease to be missional in our theology and our methodology, in how we think and in what we do, then we stop functioning as the New Testament church. We’re merely a social club, interested only in our own comfort and well-being. And that doesn’t look anything like the Biblical picture of the Body of Christ.
All of us have a role in our being a mission-focused body, whether it’s going, praying, giving or just living the gospel on your block every day. Thanks be to God that we’re doing that a little more each day. And thanks to each of you for your obedience in following Jesus.
I do count it a privilege to serve you–and serve with you–as the pastor of such a great church. I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing each of you on Sunday.