The goal of Mission

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : September 29, 2004

In the previous post, my friend blorge left the following comment:

the [church] family can’t just be missional if it isn’t drawing people to a relatively healthy body.

I agree. The goal of the church’s mission is to draw people into relationship with the church and our Triune God. If we engage in mission that draws people into a horribly dysfunctional way of relating to others and a spiritually and theologically harmful way of relating with God, then we aren’t engaging in mission. Mission always has a goal. The goal of our mission is to disciple people in the way of Jesus. We are to pattern our mission after Jesus’ earthly mission. As he was sent, so are we. And if we aren’t going out to bring people into health, then we aren’t engaging in Christian mission.

This is part of the reason I get upset when big-name Word of Faith people like Benny Hinn come to town. Thousands attend his meetings. Many get “saved.” When I gripe about Benny, some of my friends will say things like, “he isn’t THAT bad–people are getting saved, after all.” If you define “saved” as “getting out of Hell,” then I guess I can’t argue. But biblical salvation is more about a new way of living healthfully and authentically with God through Jesus Christ, by the power and presence of the Spirit. This salvation is eternal, but it has to do with more than just the afterlife.

So, going back to blorge’s statement, I agree that the church needs to draw people into a healthy body. Mission is about bringing people into a live-giving and transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

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9 Responses to “The goal of Mission”

  1. rick on September 29th, 2004 2:33 pm

    I like what you said about healthy and salvation. Salvation: to be made whole. How our we made whole and complete? Is it through saying a few magic words? Like you said, it is about healing… and healing is done inwardly by the spirit often in communitywhere other folks are yearning to be healed and become healthy.
    Great post!

    Nice to have found you,

    Rick, a new visitor

  2. Van S on September 29th, 2004 4:02 pm

    Thanks for visiting! Being a healing community is incredibly difficult. I think we have to abandon some of the typical external indicators of success if we are going to be committed to bringing health to the unhealthy.

  3. gordon on October 1st, 2004 9:21 am

    I’m not a blog groupie but I do appreciate MissionThink - thanks.

    Have you come across - Frost, M. and Hirsch, A. (2003) The Shape of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church ?

  4. Van S on October 1st, 2004 11:41 pm

    Gordon–I just bought that book…but I haven’t read it yet.

  5. gordon on October 2nd, 2004 4:52 am

    looking forward to reading some of your reflections when you get around to read it. They are in London on monday - I’m planning to get along

  6. sean on October 8th, 2004 9:11 am

    I like your blog. I am a new visitor. I have not heard of the “missional” church before — it is a very intriguing concept. I am encouraged by your words. keep it up. People should be, and will be drawn to the church by the Gospel — that we are sinners in need of a savior, who gives everything to us freely. Church attendance does not matter. I have always been skeptical of people who equate attendance with a “successful” church. The mega-church thing is so sickening sometimes. Where ever the Christ is preached, it is a success. And don’t stop your criticism of false teachers! A little bit of good mixed in with a lot of bad is very dangerous. We are all to be Bereans.

  7. Van S on October 10th, 2004 10:18 am

    Thanks Sean!

  8. gregia on March 26th, 2005 11:15 am

    looking forward to reading some of your reflections when you get around to read it. They are in London on monday - I’m planning to get along

  9. Van S on March 28th, 2005 7:36 am

    I’ve read the book, and I think it’s great, but haven’t come up with any blogable thoughts yet.

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