Mission. Vision. Direction. Purpose.
These are powerful concepts. Organizations that want to be successful need to skillfully employ them to get people to participate.
This same strategy is often used in local churches.
Many pastoral job descriptions include casting vision. Successful churches often have mission statements as a focal point of all their church ministries and literature.
Do you have a mission statement? Does your church?
Do you know God's mission statement?
Many people long to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be part of a movement.
The grandest mission is God's. He has revealed it plainly in the Scriptures. God is at work in this world. If you don't understand His mission you may not know how to discern His activity. Many falsely preach that God's mission is to make you happy and fulfilled. If that's God's mission then He isn't doing a very good job at it.
God's real mission is clear. God is redeeming a people for Himself from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people from the curse that is currently upon this broken and fallen world. God is reconciling these people to Himself through His Son, Jesus the Christ. When this process is complete God will gather these people to Himself and establish His kingdom in its fullness.
God is not doing this because anyone deserves it. He is doing it to glorify His great name. God will glorify His name through both the redeemed and those who persist in rebellion against Him. His mercy and grace will be magnified in those who receive salvation through Christ. His wrath and justice will be magnified in those who perish under His condemnation.
This is the biblical picture.
Understanding God's mission is pretty awesome. What's even more breathtaking is the fact that God chooses to call His redeemed into partnership with Him in His mission.
No matter what local church you attend. No matter what denomination you identify with. No matter what generation you live through. No matter your net worth, skin color, gender, hobbies, or interests. If you are redeemed by the blood of Christ you have been purchased by God and given a job as an ambassador in His kingdom. You have become a minister of reconciliation.
By the grace and calling of God you are a difference-maker. At least, you can be. If you participate.
Ambassadors are supposed to live on mission. You are not supposed to be derelict of your duty. You are also not called to be distracted with lesser pursuits.
We have been entrusted with a stewardship in God's expanding kingdom. We can have confidence that we are participating in the greatest movement in human history. We can know for certain that our efforts will make a difference in both our own generation and eternity.
The Apostle Paul knew the mission. He also called other believers to understand it and have confidence in its completion.
A well-known and often cited passage is easily misunderstood. It is easy to read this passage individually and miss the grander truth that is being expressed.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Paul's confidence is not simply about the salvation of the individual. He is writing to all the saints in Philippi. In addressing this group of believers his confidence is in a singular work being done among the community of believers.
This singular work will continue until it is brought to completion (that is, is "perfected") on the day of Christ Jesus. The work includes individuals because it encompasses the entire group. Paul describes the glory of that day in the next chapter:
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
Paul immediately gives an exhortation to live in accordance with this mission:
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Are you partnering with God in His mission? Are you laying down your life and fleshly pursuits and obeying God so that He will work in you, both to will and work for His good pleasure?
God's mission is to work through His redeemed -- the community of faith called "the church" -- until He has redeemed a people for Himself from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people. This is not a defensive mission but an offensive one.
Are you partnering with God's mission or have you settled for something else?