And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, (Mt. 28:18-20).
The Lord has given us a great responsibility, and has laid at our feet the tools and resources necessary to accomplish it. In the first of these three articles, we discussed the urgency of the Great Commission. It is the most profound and important task we face, and it is essential that we focus clearly upon the task at hand. In the second article we reviewed some of the mission work, both foreign and domestic, which we have been privileged to participate in as a congregation over recent years.
Then, last Sunday evening, the congregation was informed about a tremendous and exciting opportunity now laid before us. Substantial financial resources have been placed into our hands, with the solemn responsibility that we rise to the occasion and use them to carry out our mission. What a thrilling yet sobering challenge we now face. Thrilling because we can all imagine great things to be done by the church with these added funds. Yet sobering because the Lord is going to hold us accountable for what we do with them.
In their best selling book, Mission Drift, authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst talk about organizations which have drifted away from their original purpose, and lost their mission forever. Other foundations have found ways to continually reaffirm the original intent of their founders, and remain “mission true.” Each congregation of the Lord’s church is in danger of drifting away from its mission as well. The congregation can get wrapped up in it’s on social programs, inventive forms of benevolent outreach, technological wonders and other activities, gradually replacing the original mission ordained by the Lord.
We see it all around us. Congregations once loyal to the Great Commission have long ago stopped growing and reaching the lost. They have forgotten why they exist. They may have tremendous youth programs, senior activities, ladies emphases, and a host of other good works, but they are fundamentally failing in their duty to reach out with the gospel to a lost and dying world.
All of the money and exciting programs in the world cannot replace our responsibility to “seek and to save the lost.” Large, commodious buildings, with beautiful auditoriums, fellowship halls, spacious classrooms, and many other amenities are wonderful blessings, but they are merely tools to be used by the church in reaching the lost. It is the primary mission of the Lord’s church to glorify God by spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we forget that mission, we may as well fold in our membership and stop calling ourselves the Lord’s church. We might as well identify ourselves as yet another social club or civic organization, because that’s what we will have become.
What will we do with this wonderful financial gift? Will it be spent to entertain ourselves? Will we use these monies to promote fellowship and goodwill among members? Will we spend these funds on programs designed to simply enrich our own church experiences? Or, will we remember that we are surrounded in this community by lost and dying souls who need the saving gospel of Jesus Christ? Souls who need a Savior, a meaningful chance to hear and understand His message of salvation, and the precious opportunity to accept and obey it before it is eternally too late.
This is an exciting time for the Central congregation. Our numbers are growing, we are rebuilding after a terrible pandemic, and opportunities for significant expansion now lie before us. As Ruth Carruth pointedly asked back in 1939, “Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages, Swiftly the hours are changing to years, How are we using God’s golden moments, Shall we reap sorrow, shall we reap joys?” May we remember and ever be true to our God-given mission!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.