A Family On Mission

When I think of the church, the body of Christ, I think of us as a family on mission. As with any family, the church has the privilege of being in life with each other in a manner that we care for each other, build up each other, protect each other and love each other. When the New Testament describes how we treat each other within the church, it uses a series of “one anothers.”

We are instructed to love one another (John 13:34), honor one another (Romans 12:10), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2), be patient with one another (Colossians 3:13), be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32), teach one another (Colossians 3:16). These are just some of the ways we are called to be in life with each in a personal way and intentiontal way like a family is in relationship with each other. But the “one anothers” are not the mission or the purpose of the church. The “one anothers” are how we are to treat each other while we are on mission.

Let me know say that one more time: The “one anothers” are not the mission of the church but rather how we are treat each other while we are mission.

When my family visits our extended family in Texas, we move into a season of clear purpose: get to Texas. Since my family lives in Minnesota, this trip requires planning. We have to set a date, we have to clear our schedule, we have to pack. We get into one van and we move together in one direction toward Texas. The purpose of this trip is to spend time with our Texas family. That is what we are on mission to do. But as we are on mission, we are to do it together as a family in which we love and care and support each other. Now if we remained in Minnesota, but we still were loving toward each other, that would be nice but we wouldn’t accomplish what we were wanting to accomplish: visit our Texas family.

As the family of God, our mission is to make disciples. This is what the original disciples were invited into (Matthew 4:19) and this what they were commissioned to (Matthew 28:19-20). The disciples were given a clear task, a clear purpose. But they were also told how they were to act toward each other while on mission. If the disciples were in a right relationship with each other but didn’t accomplish their mission they would not be living out their purpose.

Too often today we make can make caring for the church family our primary pursuit. As long as people are cared for, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. And this can even lead to people in the church viewing the church like we view America that the church gives us the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We began to think of the church as a place where my unalienable rights are met. And when we do that we began to lose the mission of the church. Our comfort and our personal pursuits become the primary focus. We become more concerned about whether our voice is heard than whether the mission of Christ is being lived out.

God has given us the great privilege of living life togather as the body of Christ. And we get the joy of being a part of a family. But may we never forget that we are not just a family but a family on mission to enter into the mission of Christ as he calls all people into a relationship with Him.