Redeemer is a church in Chorlton, Manchester. We are a gospel formed family on mission. So what does “on mission” mean?
There are all types of missions we can get involved in, some good some not so much: caring for the environment, making money, ridding Manchester of homelessness, helping those who are poor, being good to others, becoming as knowledgeable as possible, seeking glory or fame for oneself, seeing how many pints one can drink on a Friday night (some would say these last two are the same idea).
But people who have been brought into God’s family are called to be on God’s mission. (1) God’s mission broadly defined is this: to be disciples who make disciples.(2) We have been saved from our inferior missions and saved to God’s mission.
The Big Picture
From the beginning of time, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have been working in this world to create a people for themselves. These people reflect God’s glory back to God, to each other, and to the world. This is the mission of God and also our mission as His family, the church.
Right now God is actively in this mission in our individual lives, as well as others. But get this: we get to be a part of it! We aren’t sidelined bystanders or mere consumers, we are active participants in God’s mission to renew all things in this world.
If you’ve ever ever wondered about the trajectory of your life (your job, are you on the right path, are you making the right decisions, etc.), as a Christian those questions might still be there, but underneath it all we can be confident that God is advancing His mission in our world and we can be a part of that. That’s amazingly reassuring.
When we follow Jesus, we give our whole selves to Him and are saved from all the smaller missions that sidetrack us in our life. We are also given a new identity, saved to His mission. The bad things are removed and the good things are enhanced.
Maybe we were prideful before and constantly sought after how to make ourselves look right in everyone’s eyes. Through Jesus we can be saved from that exhausting life, and though we’re not instantly made perfect, are now on a path towards living for others instead of demanding from them.
Maybe we’re passionate about helping the poor and have spent a lot of time and energy into helping those who need it. Through Jesus we can be saved from burnout and bitterness because now we’re empowered by God Himself for this worthy cause.
The new identity Jesus gives us allows us to not leech our identity off other areas. Trying to get our identity from pride leads to more pride, isolation, and futility. Trying to get our identity from a passionate cause, no matter how worthy it might be, leads to burnout and self-righteousness. We’re saved from these other missions being our single guiding point, and now we’re now freed to truly live selflessly with those good desires.
We are disciples of Jesus, called to make disciples of Jesus. We do that through being servants and missionaries in the place God has called us.
As God’s servants, we are called to live selflessly for others, to seek the welfare of Manchester, to see our neighbourhood prosper. This means we care about justice, we care about doing good, we care about others’ well-being above our own. God has poured out His love on us in such a way that we have much more to give than we can carry. We are never in need, and part of the reason for God’s overflow of love is to give it to others.(3)
We are called to do good works, but not just that. Merely doing good works gives others the impression that the church is just a group of nice people doing nice things. The reason we serve isn’t because we’re nice, we serve because a loving God has changed our hearts. We are called to do good works and talk about why we do those good works.
Just as Jesus was sent into our world, we are sent to the world around us.(4) Redeemer is a family of missionaries sent to Chorlton and Manchester. This is true of everyone who follows Jesus. Just as Jesus followed his acts of love with teaching, we follow suit. We demonstrate God’s love through being servants, and we declare God’s love through talking about the gospel with others who aren’t believers yet. A good missionary listens well and communicates the gospel in a way that connects well with those they’re sharing with.
We are saved from our inferior missions, be they good or bad, and saved to God’s mission as His servants and missionaries. Joining God’s mission means getting a front row seat to seeing Him work. It requires much of us, it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. And for those who follow Jesus, it isn’t an option, it’s our identity.