Mission of the Church: MULTIPLY (Part 2)1
This post is the second in a 3-part series focusing on the purpose, mission and glory of the church.
The Mission of the Church: MULTIPLY
The last post looked at the purpose of the church – to MAGNIFY – worshipping God together. Today we focus on the other central purpose of the church, which we call our mission. Let’s look once again at Acts 2.
And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. - Acts 2:47
The church from its inception was a gathering that produced saved people; saved people that are brought in to become part of the rest of the church. What do we call those people who are increasing and that the church is producing? Move a couple chapters over,
Acts 6:7a – “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem,”
According to Acts the church produces disciples.
Disciples Making Disciples
What is a disciple? I know it sounds like a term that must only be used for the REALLY devout, but the word, simply means follower or learner. In the time of Jesus, disciples were the students, or apprentices, that would follow a rabbi around everywhere he went, learning from his life and words.
While the rest of the rabbis would wait for the elite AP religion students to come to them, Jesus bucks convention and approaches a group of ordinary fishermen to call them:
Mark 1:17, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
These young men had been students of their father’s fishing business; every day they would get up while it was still dark, head out, fix nets, and gut fish. They were learning the sea, the weather, and the fish. In a sense you could call them “fishing disciples” – following in their dad’s footsteps to learn how to catch fish. And Jesus is turning them into Jesus disciples, so that they will become like Him and so that they will continue His mission: making disciples who make disciples.
It’s as if Jesus says: “Follow me, and as I change you, help others follow me.”
The clearest text for the great mission of disciple making is in Matthew 28:18-20:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
It’s a command to MULTIPLY: disciples making disciples together. That is what the church is supposed to be about! But how do we take part in multiplying?
Ordinary Methods, Extraordinary Results
It seems like for Jesus to entrust His big world-changing plan to such ordinary and underwhelming people, He must have an amazing methodology for us to tap into. Jesus’ Super-Secret Strategy for Success… or something. And here it is (it’s going to blow your minds):
Part 1 – people who have not heard the gospel (the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection) need to hear it. We call this evangelism or sharing the gospel.
Part 2 – those who respond to the gospel with repentance (turning from their sin) and faith (trusting Jesus for their life), need to grow in their learning and obedience of Christ. We call this edification or growing in the gospel. And this happens through reading God’s Word, prayer, listening to sermons, singing rich songs, and being involved in others people’s lives as they fight sin and cherish the growth of godly virtues. It happens through service, sacrificial love, and waiting while trusting that the Holy Spirit is at work.
What an unbelievable strategy! People who don’t have the gospel, need it, and those who responded to it, need to keep growing in it! And this is what the church is supposed to be about: ordinary church stuff. But don’t let their ordinary appearance fool you; Jesus has set the church as a military base, an outpost of operations in the midst of enemy territory and it is His chief strategy to gather more worshippers, more of his children to love Him and become like Jesus, and He wants to use the church to make it happen!
It’s a big mission, but you know what, going back to Matthew 28, Jesus has declared that He has all authority and power to carry it out, and He’s with us to do it. He’s given us His Spirit, He’s given us His Word, and He’s given us His people – to make sure this mission is accomplished.
What About You?
A while ago my car had a problem. It turned on, but as soon as I put it into drive, and pushed on the gas it would die. Now, a car can be a lot of things – a concert hall, a beautiful piece of art, a conversation piece, or even a hobby. But its purpose, its mission, is transportation. If the car can’t take you anywhere, then you need to do something about it.
The church can be a lot of things too, a concert hall, place for great friendships and conversations, but if it’s not fulfilling the mission, then it’s not really being the church. Author Carey Nieuwhof says, “The goal of any Christian should never be to find a church you like and sit in the back row. The goal should be to fully engage the mission.”
Are you fully engaging the mission? Will you? Will you help get the car in drive, or are you satisfied to just keep tinkering with the stereo and the waxy sheen? Join into the cosmic plan of the Creator to reconcile enemies and turn them into sons and daughters of the King.
Jesus Gives You Wings
In the 30 plus years Red Bull has been around they have sold over 68 billion cans of their energy drinks. They produce a can, but what they sold was a lifestyle. Their real mission and purpose was not individual sales, but lifelong customers who would always identify with their brand.
Christian, the church doesn’t have a brand, we have a person – Jesus Christ, and He’s not selling a lifestyle, He wants to give you new life. And so we want everything we do, everything, to be what will help others to see Jesus, hear His call, respond to Him and follow Him for all of their God-given days. The church doesn’t have a product, but we do have a purpose and a mission – to magnify and multiply; to worship God and make disciples together in the church that Jesus loves.
 Smallman, The Walk