THE PASTOR’s PEN February 10, 2019
Dear Church Family and Friends,
I am firmly convinced that we are a church with the greatest potential, resources and opportunity in this entire association of churches. But there is a question that keeps coming to my mind. Are We Simply A Church On A Hill or Are We A Church On Mission?
I guess to answer that question we need to understand what a missional church is. Missional represents a significant shift in the way one thinks about the church. Being missional means we should engage the world the same way Jesus did—by going out rather than just reaching out. Missional means that when a church is on mission, it is then the true church. “Missional” or “missional living” is a Christian term that in essence describes a missionary lifestyle. Being missional includes embracing the posture, the thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to reach others with the message of the gospel. The term “missional” gained its popularity towards the end of the 20th century with the influence of Tim Keller, Alan Hirsch, and others, as well as the Gospel and Our Culture Network. Their basic premise is that all Christians should be involved in the Great Commission of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).
Essentially, the idea of being missional teaches that the church has a mission because Jesus had a mission. We call ourselves a “Missionary Baptist Church.” Does that mean we only give money to help support missionaries or does it mean we are a church made up of missionaries?
Being on mission is more than social justice. Engaging the poor and correcting inequalities is part of being God’s agent in the world but should not be confused with the whole. We like many churches have a mission statement and talk about the importance of having a mission, where churches on mission differ is in their attitude toward the world. A church on mission sees the mission as both its originating impulse and its organizing principle. It is patterned after what God has done in Jesus Christ, that is, to be missional means to be sent into the world; not to expect people to come to us.
According to Dave DeVries, author of “Missional Transformation: Fueling Missionary Movements that Transform America,” there are five biblical distinctives that form the foundation of a missional perspective and a church on mission:
• The Church is sent by Jesus Christ (John 17:18; 20:21, Luke 9:2; Matthew 28: 19–20; Acts 1:8)
• The Church is sent with the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:18, Ephesians 2:16, Colossians 2:14, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17–24)
• The Church is sent in Community (Acts 2:42–47; 5:42; John 13:34–35; 1 John 3:16–17)
• The Church is sent to every Culture (John 1:14; Matthew 20:28; Acts 17:22–34; Luke 5:29)
• The Church is sent for the King and His Kingdom (Matthew 10:7; 25:34; Luke 4:43; Revelation 11:15–17; Jeremiah 10:7; John 18:36)
Churches that are on mission are going not just waiting to attract people to them. In fact, churches that are just waiting to attract people to them are loosing people. For example, I read an article this week. It stated “Church pews may be full of teenagers, but a new study says college students might be a much rarer sight on Sunday mornings.
Two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. Thirty-four percent say they continued to attend twice a month or more.
While the 66 percent may be troubling for many church leaders, the numbers may appear more hopeful when compared to a 2007 study from LifeWay Research.
Previously, 70 percent of 18- to 22-year-olds left church for at least one year.”
The dropout rate for young adults accelerates with age, the study found. While 69 percent say they were attending at age 17, that fell to 58 percent at age 18 and 40 percent at age 19. Once they reach their 20s, around 1 in 3 say they were attending church regularly.
“As those teenagers reach their late teen years, even those with a history of regular church attendance are pulled away as they get increased independence, a driver’s license or a job. The question becomes: Will they become like older adults who have all those things and still attend or will students choose to stay away?”
Virtually all of those who dropped out (96 percent) listed a change in their life situation as a reason for their dropping out. The five most frequently chosen specific reasons for dropping out were: moving to college and no longer attending (34 percent); church members seeming judgmental or hypocritical (32 percent); no longer feeling connected to people in their church (29 percent); disagreeing with the church’s stance on political or social issues (25 percent); and work responsibilities (24 percent).
Not all teenagers leave church as a young adult. A third (34 percent) say they consistently attended twice a month or more through the age of 22.
Those who stayed saw the church as an important part of their entire life. When asked why they stayed in church, more than half say the church was a vital part of their relationship with God (56 percent) and that they wanted the church to help guide their decisions in everyday life (54 percent). They do however want to be part of a church that is involved and on mission.
Let’s pray that the Lord give us a heart for missions like Jesus has. Let’s pray that the Lord give us a love for the lost like He has for the lost. And let’s get on mission!
I hope you are participating this year. You will have fun, and learn a lot of interesting things about the Bible. The reward this year will be a $100 gift card from Lifeway Stores again.
To qualify for the prize, you must write the question, give the correct answer and provide the scripture reference which supports your answer.
22. In Matthew 5, what did Jesus say He came to do to the law and prophets?
23. What does Numbers 32 say will happen if you sin?
24. What does Jesus say keeping God’s commandments is proof of?
25. What did God, through His prophet Samuel, say is “better than sacrifice”?
26. On what two commandments did Jesus say hang all the law and the prophets?
Until next week, Love and prayers,
Church Phone: 423-272-7676
Church Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.