The mission of any church is to obey the commands of Christ. Jesus taught that the entirety of the Law and the Prophets hangs on the Great Commandment–to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind–and another similar–to love your neighbor as yourself. (Mt 22:37-40)
In addition to the Great Commandment, Jesus also gave us the Great Commission–to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20) Love of God and neighbor isn’t a static, cloistered thing; it is interactive and engaging, meant for the entire world. The most important expression of our love for others is to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“Love God. Love others.” It makes a pithy, memorable tagline. It’s a great motto. But what does it mean in the real world? What does it look like in practical terms? There are many ways to express one’s love for God or one’s neighbor. What does it mean for the Community of Grace?
Loving God is expressed through our worship and adoration of Him. This doesn’t happen only in a formal worship service but through everyday, ongoing surrender to Him in every aspect of our lives. It is the Romans 12 presentation of ourselves as “living sacrifices,” and the “losing” of our lives so that we may find them. It is expressed in song and in prayer. It is expressed in our pursuit of Him through spiritual disciplines and daily engagement of His holy Word. Is is expressed in serving others sacrificially and seeking to be least rather than greatest. It is expressed in the submissive striving to be holy as God is holy. In short, it is the moment by moment pursuit to bring glory to God with our very lives.
Loving others is expressed holistically by addressing both temporal and eternal needs, including the spiritual, physical, and emotional. To preach the Gospel to the hungry and withhold food is cruel. To give away bread and ignore the Gospel is crueler still. Jesus spoke of both the “daily bread” and the “Bread of Life,” to pray for daily provision for our stomachs and to partake of Jesus Himself so that we may have eternal provision for our souls.
To summarize our mission, we can look to Jesus Christ and His mission during His time on earth. He brought glory to the Father. He willingly and lovingly stepped into the messy lives of others to bring hope and healing. He met the present and eternal needs of people. And most importantly, He gave His life so that all who would believe in Him could have eternal life. As the Church, we partake in this mission, to glorify God and introduce others to Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is our mission.