The mandate for every church is that it exists for the sole purpose of glorifying God and making disciples. If a church body does not embrace this mentality, then by definition it cannot rightly be called a church. – Will Mancini, Church Unique
In a previous post, I proposed that there are three areas of focus that church leaders should put their efforts into to improve the long-term health of their church body. In today’s post, we will give our attentions to the first half of the first point of those three:
- Understand the Corporate Mission of the Church
The Great Commission, given by Christ just before his ascension, was the mandate, to The Church, to be about the work that He began.
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:16-20, CSB
It is through obedience to this mandate that His people accomplish the over-arching mission of the church to glorify God through the making of disciples. Glorifying God through disciple-making is essential for the future health, growth, and life of any church body. In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that “Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”
Regardless of the methodological approach taken to developing disciples, the corporate mission of The Church is to lead the charge to share the truth that Jesus is the only means of satisfaction. The church is called to go make disciples, go baptize them into a new life with Christ, and go teach them what it means to be a disciple of Christ and how to follow after Him.
This is the fundamental mandate for which every church body is to participate. But this is only the first part of the first step toward leading our churches well because to simply say that the mission of The Church is to “glorify God and make disciples” is not enough to help a church move from unhealthy to healthy. As church leaders, we need more than just a broad statement that provides our church with no clear direction. We need more than just an ecclesiastical lesson to solve the dilemma of death and decline that many churches are facing. Our churches need a mission that is unique to them. A mission that energizes and mobilizes our individual body of believers to “go” with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Recently, my wife and I bought our kids a 750 piece puzzle for us to put together as a family. It didn’t take long for them to realize that it was easy to look at the outside of the box and say, “This is what it is supposed to look like.” But it was exponentially more difficult to figure out where their individual piece fit into the big picture.
In the next post, we will take a look at some things you can do and questions that you can ask to move your church from the staring at the outside of the puzzle box to discovering where your specific church fits into the big picture of the church’s mandate to glorify God through making disciples. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope that you’ve been encouraged with practical resources to help you lead well in your ministry context.