“The Church is people devoted to God, in community, on mission, for God’s glory.”

This is the identity statement we have been internalizing as a church family over the last two years. Starting in January of this year, we began focusing in particular on what it means to be on mission as a church.

I believe that God has uniquely called, gifted, and mobilized his church to get something done in the world. That “something” is the mission we are on together. Over the last several months, we have looked to God’s Word to explore facets of that mission. We’ve studied what it means to fully engage Jesus’ call to love our neighbors. We have explored the importance of learning how God’s mission gets uniquely discovered and engaged in our lives. We have sought to understand God’s heart for justice and to learn how to live justly in our own community. We have looked in on meals Jesus shared with outsiders and learned more about his heart for those who need to know they are loved by Jesus. And finally, we have engaged our world through practical and meaningful service, recognizing that God’s mission invites us to lifestyles of service to each other and for the world.

Jesus planned on us, promised he would be with us, assured us he would work through us, and reminded us that not even hell can stand against the power and goodness of his church.

I have learned a lot in the last six months and maybe most importantly, have been reminded that there is nothing broken in this world that falls outside of God’s caring or beyond his power. I believe there is nothing in this world with more power to affect change, to cut through every human barrier, to love with the heart of Jesus, and that can do more good than a committed, fully engaged, Holy-Spirit-empowered church.

Jesus promised he has won the day and proved his point through the resurrection. Until he returns and there is final victory over the brokenness of this world, his plan is you and me. Jesus planned on us, promised he would be with us, assured us he would work through us, and reminded us that not even hell can stand against the power and goodness of his church. I can think of no mission more exciting than to join with my Savior in seeing his kingdom built through his church.

This summer we will be studying the book of James, which will be both the punctuation to our season on mission and the introduction to the final and most crucial piece of our identity as a church. Who we are, as individuals and a church, is for God’s glory. The story being written through the church is not about us, it is about God—his goodness, his power, and his invitation to live the reality and promise of his grace. Living in the implications of grace and for the glory of God takes a lifetime to learn, but I am eager to learn alongside you as we explore together what it means to have our identity inextricably linked to the glory of our God.

 

 

John Parker is Lead Pastor at Summit Church. You can email him at jparker@summitconnect.org.