sleeping and waking, rest and work—a constant pattern of with- drawal and return. Every encounter with people was balanced by an encounter with God, and every period spent with God was followed by a period of involvement in the affairs of humanity. Like the swing of a pendulum, His ministry moved back and forth between prayer and service, between direct communication with God and direct communication with people. If it was important for Christ to spend so much time listening to God, how much more important is it for us to make sure we take the time to hear what God is saying?
What Is God Calling Us to Do?
According to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we have been called to be ambassadors for Christ and have been given the ministry of reconciliation:
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God (4:1-2).
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto him- self, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath commit- ted unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambas- sadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God (5:18-20).
Jesus summed up what God is calling us to do in two simple words: “Follow Me.” This challenge has not changed and will not change no matter what happens in our world. We are to win the world, but on God’s terms. God is still calling us to be ambassa- dors of reconciliation—to engage the missional mandate.
Where Are We Going?
Christ’s mission is our mission. His goal is our goal. God is calling us to be a missionary people. The Church of God will fulfill its purpose only by a great commitment to the Great Com- mission. The most important thing we can do is to follow where Christ leads.
Who Is Going With Us?
Even though our conversion and calling are personal experi- ences, we are not to live in isolation from other believers. In Ephe- sians 4:16, Paul said, “Under his [Christ’s] control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love” (TEV).
Jesus chose and intensively trained a small group of hand- picked men to share His ministry and carry it on after His death. Jesus surrounded Himself with a few men, poured Himself into them, and turned the world upside down.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” If we are going to be successful in reaching our world for Christ, we must join together to follow Christ and multiply our ministry by pouring ourselves into training others.
How Will We Know When We Have Arrived?
The goal of the Church of God is not to have the largest denomination in the world. We do not seek to inflate our sta- tistics to beat the “competition.” Instead, our goal is to engage our missional mandate so we will one day hear Christ say, “Well done.”
Our denomination cannot win the world on its own. However, the Church of God can do its part to fulfill the mission and vision God has for us. We must engage the missional mandate!
Quotes on the Missional Church
• “You have one business on earth—to save souls.” —John Wesley
• “When attempting to transition a ‘traditional’ church in a more missional direction, I believe one of the topics of discussion must be the importance of ‘the priesthood of all believers.’ If we believe the Church is God’s agent sent into the world to participate in what He is already doing, then every member must be developed and deployed.”—John Stott
• “Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone.”—David Livingstone
• “To what extent is our church a ‘sent’ community in which each believer is reaching out to his community? To what extent is our church impacting the community with a Christian message that challenges the values of our secular society?”—David Horrox
• “The missional church believes it is God who is on a mission and that we are to join Him in it.”—author unknown
• “A church becomes missional when it remains faithful to the gospel message while simultaneously contextualiz- ing its ministry (to the degree it can) so that the gospel can engage the worldview of the hearers.”—Ed Stetzer
• “God had only one Son, and He was a missionary.” —David Livingstone
EVANGEL • JULY 2010 7
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