The Authority of Local Churches over Missions
Unit 4: Issue 2 – Project 1
The Authority Local Churches Should Posses in Local Missions
The Great Commission has been given. We (as Christians) are to go and make disciples of all nations; without partiality or judgment. Our mission is simple, to share the good news with all who will listen, to genuinely love people into the kingdom of God. This means that we don’t just fill up a seat on Sunday, but that we actually live out that command. Jesus said that the greatest two commandments in the Old Testament were to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart mind, and soul and with all of your strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself”. What better way to fulfill both of those commandments than to fulfill the Great Commission? By loving God we gain a heart for people. That is because God love’s His creation and as we draw nearer to Him, our desires are slowly changed and His are integrated in with ours, ultimately replacing our own. If He loves us, it would make sense that we would start to develop a love for people in general and want to share with them this good news that has changed our hearts and minds so much for the better! This is why it is important that we not just fill up a seat every Sunday, but that we actually receive the message spoken to us, hopefully full of mission and vision to go and make disciples.
This, in turn, is why it is so important for us to not become lukewarm in our faith, so that we might please the One who saves us! Being full of faith and life not only on Sunday but by continuing to pursue Him throughout the rest of our weeks, we should have a heart to missionally reach people and love them into the kingdom of God through living our daily lives. But beyond that, addressing the community entirely is exceedingly important as well. If we do not provide for the needs of the community and love and embrace the community as a whole, than why would anyone listen to us in our daily lives? Hence local missions are necessary for the survival of the local church which makes up the global church, church by church. It is here that we find the need for the authority of the local church over missions. If we engage the culture sporadically and without structure, the community as a whole no longer looks at the church as the agent for the gospel, but the individual. While there is some truth to the individual being the agent for the gospel, it is necessary for the church to be the glue that holds us together because without the hands and feet of Christ working together to help us as He leads us to provide needs and minister to individuals, we cut off vital resources and any sense of community among Christians.
The Authority Local Churches Should Posses in Missions Abroad
When we lose the authority of the local church over missions abroad there becomes a disconnect between the church and missionaries and missions agencies. Missionaries are fooled into thinking that raising support is possible for anyone and that all you have to do is go and speak at a few churches or send out a couple hundred letters and you’re good. When in fact, those churches that they speak at have no heart for where they are ministering and don’t really care about reading a letter on the wonderful work that God may very well be calling this missionary to. Again, there is a lack of communication and passion. But when the church collectively sees a need somewhere abroad and sends its own missionaries there, the support (not just financially, but emotionally and prayerfully) is very much present and active.
Why Gospel-Centered Organizations outside the Local Church are Important
Para-church organizations can be very vital to the expansion (and exposure even) of the gospel on both the local and abroad levels of missions. It just depends on what the method of utilizing these organizations are. If they are not supported by and fed into by the local church their effect can become nullified. It can turn out to be no more than similar to the previously stated situation of an individual sporadically ministering to and providing needs of the community without structure or being associated with the church. These organizations become nothing more than individual agents for the gospel, lacking necessary resources and support, instead of something greater. People can become stirred up about the gospel, but without a long-lasting life-changing group to be a part of, peoples faith can and will become lukewarm and the Great Commission will never be fulfilled or accomplished in any way through them.