The movement of the church began as regular people truly responded to the call from Jesus to, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). In our American culture and our area sub-cultures we have turned away from the simplicity of the original call that Christ gave us. We have transitioned into being God’s people who place very inconsistent value on Him. Because of this, many christians are beginning to look at the churches around them, and in some cases their own churches, and attack them. My generation (millennial) has become hostile towards the idea of organized church. We have become quick to recognize what isn’t working and the things that are wrong in our churches, but hesitant to address those problems and the things that are wrong within us.
The church — it’s not failing now, it will never fail, it will display the glory of God and spread the good news of Jesus Christ forever. It is a movement that cannot be stopped because it has a leader that can never be defeated. The church will win because God is and will always be victorious. It started small and it grew quickly. It didn’t grow quickly because one church finally “got it right” with its programming and service structure. It grew quickly because the people of God decided to get to work and engage in His mission. In Matthew 16, God promises to build his church — a promise that is everlasting and includes all of us. God wants to see his church built, strengthened, and advancing in all of our cities. But this type of movement won’t occur unless you do your part.
You. Us. Regular people. In awe of God. Compelled by Christ. Empowered by the Spirit. Leveraging everything in their lives for the sake of their Creator. Understanding that they are called to do something every single day — That is how the church will move forward. That is how all the nations will hear.
The Missionary Misunderstanding
Playing your part in the mission of God may mean that you are meant to move oversees and plant a church. Maybe it means that you’re supposed to quit your job and pursue a full time ministry position. Many times, God calls us to uproot our lives and make a major change for the sake of serving Him. Being a missionary could mean that you have to move from your hometown, learn a foreign language, and fundraise in order to support yourself. God calls people to that lifestyle, and I would encourage you to truly ask if He’s calling you to that. However, that’s not the entirety of what it means to be a missionary. In fact, Jesus never traveled very far from his hometown for the sake of the mission of God. More often than not, the role you’re meant to play is to wake up every single morning in your hometown, on your college campus, or at the summer camp you’re working at and live with the mentality that you’re meant to be a missionary in that place and at that time. Christianity is an everyday mission meant to be lived out in every place on earth.
The early church expanded because people came to realize that they were created for something greater than themselves. Let’s not be negative about our churches. Instead we should be shifting our focus on what we must do to actively engage in the movement of God. It’s helpful to remember: The church isn’t a building. The church is you and it’s me.
In his book Let the Nations be Glad, John Piper wrote, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exist because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.”
I hope that we are all so convinced of God’s majesty that we want to see Him worshipped more than we want anything else. The mission of the church will not fail. There will be an amazing day when all nations will worship the one who created them. We are all called to do something in order for that day to come. Are you willing to play your part?