The Mission of the Church
it has a divine mission. The mission of the church is altogether
spiritual. First, I want to state what the mission of the church is not.
What Its Mission Is Not
The mission of the church is not to be a political institution. It was
said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and
justification for the church or any other religious organization seizing the
The mission of the church is not to become a social institution. There
are some who evidently feel that the mission of the church is to entertain
recreational programs, complete with kitchens and fellowship halls.
people to become interested in Christianity. One church that I know
about has a place of worship, which will seat about 400 and a fellowship
One preacher said it was getting so that when he heard the word
“fellowship” he could smell the coffee! Well, if you use the word
“fellowship” in a biblical sense, you will “smell no coffee.” The
recreation business should have no connection with the church. It may
it is not the duty or the mission of the church. When people feel they
must provide recreation halls, kitchens, fellowship halls, gymnasiums,
athletic facilities and what have you to induce people to come to church,
the merit to attract the attention of serious-minded people. All of these
circus-like attractions which are used to woo large numbers of people is
only bribery. It is not a cut above the denominational group which
recently initiated the practice of giving “trading stamps” to those who
could secure the most new members for the congregation. Such is
bribery! Such is not the mission of the church! What is the mission of
The primary mission of the church is to preach the gospel. This is our
paramount objective. Sometimes people say: “What about the poor and
the unfortunate? Doesn’t the church have an obligation to them?” Yes, it
is necessary to do good and relieve the afflicted, the needy and poor, but
that is not the primary mission of the church.
Perhaps you remember that one of the first problems that the church
faced in the first century was the complaint that the Grecian widows were
do? Did they give up the preaching of the gospel and say, “Our first
duty is to take care of these poor folks and feed them?” They did not.
They told the disciples to choose seven men to be appointed over the
business of caring for the poor. They continued with their primary
mission – preaching the gospel. They said, “It is not reason that we
should leave the word of God, and serve tables” (Acts 6:2). It is a
worthy thing to give a poor beggar a bath and a new suit of clothes, but
put on Christ. After all, what profit is it if you are able to relieve a man’s
physical needs momentarily at the expense of letting him die without
having heard and obeyed the gospel, and letting him go to an endless
and Christless eternity? How much better to preach the gospel to him,
and fit him and prepare him to live forever with Christ and all the
To Preach The Gospel
Preaching the gospel is the primary mission of the church because the
church is God’s agency to evangelize the world. Jesus compared the
church to a householder who went out into the marketplace to hire
laborers into his vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16. Jesus also compared the
nature of the kingdom of heaven to a sower who went forth to sow. The
seed the sower was sowing was the word of God, Matthew 13:3-23. In
early days, the church was God’s agency to send preachers out to preach
Antioch, “And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on
them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:1-3).
The apostle Paul said in I Timothy 3:15 that the church is the pillar and
ground of the truth. A pillar is a large stone colonnade or column, which
supports the roof of a porch or a building, thus the church supports and
upholds the truth of God. That is the mission of the church – to support
and uphold the truth.
The apostle Paul also identified the church as the institution, which is
that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be
known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” I understand
therefore that the church is to be employed in the dissemination of the
wisdom of God.
Paul said further: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:21). It is God’s
will that glory to himself shall be in the church by Christ Jesus. Men
who do not consent to this are not in harmony with God’s will.
Let me also point out that local congregations of the church were the
medium through which this mission of the church was to be
accomplished. It was never God’s plan to have some organization bigger
than the church, the local congregation to preach the gospel. It was never
God’s plan to have a missionary society as an adjunct to the church in
God never intended for us to have some human society for the purpose of
having rummage sales, garage sales, pie suppers, bingo games, and cake
walks for the purpose of preaching the gospel. God intended for the
church to do this work. Members of the church are to give their money
on the first day of the week, and these funds are to be used for the
mission of the church. What is the primary mission of the church? Its
primary mission and central obligation is to preach the gospel.
It is said that if you go to Palestine, the Holy Land, as it is called, and
visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the guide will take you to a red
the center of the world, because this is where Jesus stood when he gave
the great commission and said to the disciples: ‘Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned’
No doubt Jesus stood somewhere when he said that, but it seems
unlikely that Jesus stood on that little red stone. We can’t say for sure,
but I am certain of one thing. The great commission is the center of the
church’s obligation even if that place is not the center of the world.
differently. He recorded Jesus as saying: “All power is given unto me in
heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew
To Teach The Saved
But you will notice another mission of the church in the last part of that
great commission, as stated by Matthew. He said, “Teaching them to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Jesus said,
“Teaching them.” Who? Teaching those who are baptized, teaching the
saved, teaching them to observe all things the Saviour commanded.
Thus, Jesus named another mission of the church. When the church has
made disciples, then it is the mission of the church to teach them what
Jesus wants them to know. It is not enough to teach them the first
principles and then leave them to their own devices – they must be
taught to observe all things that Jesus commanded. Therefore, teaching
the saved is necessary.
knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience
godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly
kindness charity” (II Peter 1:5-7).
knowledge. That was essentially what the apostle Paul was talking
about when he spoke of “putting on the whole armor of God.” He said:
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on
the breastplate of righteousness: And your feet shod with the preparation
of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye
shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the
helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”
(Ephesians 6:14-18). All of these things are simply metaphorical
references to the word of God. Many Christians are bareheaded and
barefooted, so to speak, facing the enemy without defenses because they
have no knowledge of the word of God.
How can the church bring about this knowledge of the word of God?
First, it is the duty of preachers, teachers, and elders of the church to
teach the word of God, and feed the flock. In Acts 20:28, the Ephesian
elders were told: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed
the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The
elders are to feed the flock.
In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul told the young preacher, Timothy: “And the
things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same
commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” In
other words, the preacher was to teach “faithful men” and these faithful
men would likewise teach others. In Titus 2:1-8, Paul charged the
preacher Titus to teach aged men, aged women, young women and
young men” their duties in the church.
Also, the New Testament makes it clear that each Christian has a
responsibility to other Christians. Hebrews 3:12,13 warns: “Take heed,
from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called
Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Therefore, it is the mission of the church to teach its members, and to
cause them to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
To Provide A Spiritual Atmosphere
It is the mission of the church to provide the kind of place where
spiritual life can flourish. The meetings of the church should be the kind
of meetings where the spiritual man, the inner man, can be renewed. The
services should be orderly and worshipful. The meetings should not be
held and conducted with the end in view of simply attracting a great
crowd and catering to the wishes and wants of worldly people. It is a
great mistake for people to feel that they must put on a show to attract a
crowd. Remember, the apostle in speaking of conduct in meetings said:
“Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40).
It is not necessary to have the most eloquent speaker, or the most
ntertaining singing to build up the spiritual man. What does matter is
to meet with a desire to worship and serve God in spirit and in truth, as
for each other. Jesus said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my
disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Therefore, it
should be the duty and mission of every member of the church to make
it a place that is warm, friendly, receptive, and encouraging, and to show
love for this world, even as Jesus loved the world and gave his life that
he might redeem it from sin.
To Reproduce The Character Of Christ
Another mission of the church is to provide in its members the kind of
person that Jesus wants to see. The objective of every church is to
produce the likeness of Christ in the lives of its members. Is the church
doing that for you? Do you have the humility that Jesus manifested
while on earth? Do you have the burning zeal and love for men’s souls
that Jesus had? Can you turn the other cheek and go the second mile as
Jesus did, and as Jesus taught that we should do? Do we stand for the
things that Jesus taught? The apostle Paul commanded: “Let this mind
be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
That is the purpose of all our worship and work – to reproduce in our
who went deep into the interior of China, to a village so remote that
they could know very little about modern life. This preacher began to
healing the sick and feeding the hungry, how he lived such an unselfish
life in the interest of others, and the people said: “We know that man!
He lived in our village.” “Oh no,” the preacher said, “this man lived in
Palestine, and died hundreds of years ago.” The people said, “No, this
man lived among us. Come, we will show you his grave.” With these
words, they led the preacher to the grave, and showed him the remaining
effects of an English medical doctor, who had “thrown his life away” on
this remote village. This man had so exemplified the life of the Christ
that when the people heard the story of Jesus, they immediately thought
of the doctor.
character of Jesus in its members. May it be said of every Christian, as it
was once said of the apostles long ago, when they were brought in before
the authorities, that they “took knowledge of them that they had been
with Jesus.” There is no argument that can answer that kind of life. If
you and I live so that people can take knowledge of us, that we have
been with Jesus, that will be the most powerful influence we can ever
have for the advancement of truth.
To Bring Joy To Mankind
Perhaps it could be said that the all-encompassing mission and purpose
world giveth, but as God giveth. Why is it that people attend worship?
It is not because they are forced to attend. They go because they love to
go. David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the
house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). The happiest people I know anywhere
are those who attend worship on Sunday morning and are found in their
places on Sunday evening and Wednesday night, and at other times.
These people are truly happy. Their faces radiate with the love of the
baptized into Christ that he “rejoiced, believing in God with all his
house” (Acts 16: 34). When the Ethiopian nobleman was baptized, “he
went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). What is the mission of the
Not politics, or social programs, but rather preaching the gospel,
teaching the saved, providing a place where Christians can grow and
flourish, reproducing the character of Jesus, and bringing true joy and
happiness to mankind.