I have often asked myself this one question: ‘What is the Church’? In fact, I find myself thinking about this often. What really is the Church? What should we look like? Are we at BPCC a faithful expression of the Scripture’s teaching on the Church?
One ingredient that I think is absolutely essential for us to be the Church is mission. We are to have a sense of mission as the people of God. We’re not meant to be static and inward, but an outward-oriented movement! A movement that is energetically and prayerfully seeking to tell others the good news about Jesus. In doing this, we are to welcome people into our community and teach them how to follow him faithfully. We are to model the Christian life for them, and point them to the Scriptures. We are to make disciples. And funnily enough, this is at the core of our vision statement at BPCC. Our vision is:
‘To be a gospel-centred church seeking to make and grow disciples of Jesus Christ for the good of our community and the glory of God.’
We believe that this is Jesus’ desire for us as his church. This is clear in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. After telling his disciples that every ounce of authority in heaven and earth had been given to him (v. 18), Jesus told them to ‘make disciples’ (v. 19). He expanded on this by saying ‘Go’, ‘baptise’ and ‘teach’. We are to be a missional movement that goes out with the gospel of Jesus, baptising those who accept the gospel into the family of God and teaching them the ways of Jesus. The exhilarating promise is that Jesus will be with us for every moment of this missional movement: ‘And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (v. 20).
Adam said last week, “What would your life be like if, in every situation, you knew God was with you?” Understanding this is life-changing. And the beauty is that Jesus promises to be with his disciple-making people. He is with you every moment that you step out to tell others about him. He is with you in every difficult discipleship conversation. He is with you!
So, let’s come back to our question. What is the Church? Well, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is embodied by those who give themselves over to the mission of God. May God help us to live out our identity as his church in north Brisbane.
Nerd fact: The only finite verb in verses 19-20a is the Greek verb μαθητεύσατε (which would literally mean ‘disciple!’). Making disciples is the driving command of these verses. The other commands (go, baptise and teach) are participles. They flesh out for us what it means to make disciples.