This past weekend we had our 2nd missions conference as a church. It was a wonderful time of hearing from some of the new missionaries and missions partners we support. I hope to publish a post tomorrow about 3 new missions partners that our church was introduced to this weekend. Today, I want to share some comments and impressions from what we learned from our guest speaker, Dr. Steve Bateman. We’ve recorded all 3 of Dr. Bateman’s messages, and you can listen to them on our website HERE, but I’d like to just make an observation that the Lord gave me from this weekend.
Becoming a Missionary-sending Church
Dr. Bateman has pastored First Bible Church in Decatur, AL for 19 years, and has a contagious passion to build a church on mission for God. One of his comments that struck me the most over the weekend was that he saw one of the main reasons for his church existing in Decatur, Alabama was to raise as much money and mobilize as many missionairies as possible to be sent to the mission field. He said that this purpose helps him justify why First Bible Church should continue to exist as a church in a land of “a church on every corner”.
I love that. That resonates with me.
We’re in the same boat here in the burbs of North Atlanta. We have no short supply of churches. Not only is there a church on every corner, but North Atlanta is seeing church plants pop up all over the place. This fact became more readily apparent to me last year when we were looking for a place to have our Sunday worship services. We looked at renting space in public schools, but almost every school around us already had a church plant meeting in their facility already? I’m glad for church plants…and I even believe we need MORE churches in this region…there’s certainly a great harvest of lost people still to be reached. Nevertheless, with all these churches already around us, and new church plants continuing to start all around us, it begs the question, why are we needed here? Why is NewBranch necessary…here?
Its got to be for more than just to provide a place for worship for our families. We’ve got a great worship leader, and we’re led to the throne each Sunday, but does that warrant a new church? Our existence as a church cannot be justified just because we like our style and flavor of music. Its also got to be more than just teaching. Our preaching is average, except for when we have guest speakers (like this past weekend)….then it is outstanding. But really, there are lots of gifted preachers around North Atlanta…and many who preach expository sermons from God’s Word! Our existence must be for something more than just listening to a decent sermon every so often.
Our existence as a new and separate church in a land of a thousand churches must be justified by something bigger than ourselves….and it is. Our existence is justified by our mission.
The command our God has given to each of us individually and all of us corporately as a church is “to make disciples of all nations”, and the fulfillment of that Great Commission is more than enough reason for us to forge ahead and work hard and maintain unity and persevere in hard times. We do these things not because we want to just want to keep our comfortable little church, comfortable and little, but because we’re obeying the King’s orders to take the gospel to the nations. Missions is not to be a department in our church….it is to be the justification for our church’s very existence; it is to be what we’re all about.
Whether our mission field is the Jerusalem around us (this little corner of Gwinnett County), our Judea and Samaria (Atlanta and the surrounding region), or the ends of the Earth (Ghana, Indonesia, Central America, etc.), the mission itself – the dissemination of the good news about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection on behalf of lost sinners – this mission, must define who we are, what we do, and why we do it.
May the Lord be gracious to keep us focused on His mission, and transform us (and churches all throughout our land), into missions outposts who see “one of the main reasons for [their] church existing…is to raise as much money and mobilize as many missionairies as possible to be sent to the mission field.”
Thanks Steve, for that reminder!