The church is fundamentally a missional organisation because God Himself is a missionary God.(1) We get to join Him on His mission to the world in the ways that He has called us.
That means the church is an organisation that exists for those who aren’t part of it. Not yet, anyway.
There are many ways to describe how the local church ought to interact with the world around her. The Bible calls us to interact in many ways: to love, confront, encourage, warn, care for and serve, just to name a few. If a church seeks to live out its calling as a light to its city, these are some of the ways it bears witness.
There are many overarching concepts a church’s mission could be, but what is God calling our church to in this moment and in this place? For Redeemer a particular church in Chorlton, in Manchester? Following the main ideas of how God instructed His people to live in Jeremiah 29, we believe Redeemer is primarily called to cultivate the culture of our city.
God has blessed Chorlton and Manchester in many ways, how is He calling us as a church to recognise this blessing, to help the good parts continue to grow in health and stomp out the bad parts that choke out its life?
In the Old Testament we often see the people of God living out a “come and see” approach to mission. They were supposed to live in such a way that the surrounding nations would see and be attracted to it: from their laws they were given to the love they gave to others. In the New Testament we often see a “go and show” approach to mission. The people of God were not just called to others coming to them, they were called to go to others with the wonderful news of Christ’s redemption.
The church today ought to live out both of these methods. We are called to be attractional (come and see) and missional (go and show). We ought to live lives and create ministries that others see and want to know more about. We also ought to live lives and create ministries where we take the love and story of God to others.
The Bible also talks about our words and our deeds. What we say is important, as is what we do. Separate the two, and we get legalism on one side and liberalism on the other. We are called to talk about justice, and actually follow through with lives that reflect what we say we believe. We are called to talk about God’s love and actually follow through by loving others the way God has loved us.
So these two dynamics: attractional/missional and come/go ought to always be in action in the church. No church will ever have a perfect balance toward all, but that is where we ought to be headed, our point on the horizon.
The church's purpose is to be on God's mission. Whether us going to others or asking them to come along, all things ought to be done with people who aren’t believers yet in mind. We are never not making disciples, so the question is what kind of disciples are we making? We will strive to be a family, formed by the gospel, on mission with the gospel, for the glory of God and the good of Manchester.