"This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world." (Mt.24:14).
At Christ Church we will know we are fulfilling God's will when our people are discipled to be engaged in God's mission. God's mission statement for his church, given to the apostles and sealed with his promise (Mt.28:18-20; Acts 1:8), is still in effect for all Christians at all times in all places. It was not just the apostles who preached the gospel, but so did the church wherever they went (Acts 8:4). The church has a mission with a message, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world." (Mt.24:14). The church has been redeemed by this royal message of the life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, and now she is the ambassador of this royal message (2 Cor.5:20-21) in the whole world.
The ultimate thing we do as the church is worship. But not everyone who Jesus lived, died and rose again for is presently enjoying the greatness of God in worship. Therefore, ministry together exists.
"Missions exists because worship doesn't." - John Piper
The goal of missions (Ministry Together) is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God." God sent his Son to seek and save the lost (Lk.19:10), and the Son through his church is sent through his gospel words and deeds to finish that mission he began. But just as it was a dangerous mission for the Son so it is for his church. The apostle Paul tells us that knowing Christ is sharing in his sufferings (Phil.3:10-11). The church grows through her mission as she extends the sufferings of Christ in her own suffering (Col.1:24). Yet like the faithful before us, our suffering for the glory of God in the building up of his church is not in vain.
The church that is doing ministry together cares about the whole person in the whole world.
Our mission is in our streets and around the world, and it is to a broken people living in a world of sin. Our mission is at home; in our workplaces, among our families, in our schools, in our streets, next door, and at restaurants, malls, and stadiums. Our mission is far afield; beyond our state, our nation, continent and around the world. Our mission involves a sound gospel message shared through lives that care. We do ministry together as we: a) seek to participate in building the church in our hometown and around the world; b) give, pray, share, send, show mercy and go; c) seek to see that people are evangelized, shown compassion, churches are planted, invested in and revitalized; d) insure that people are fed, clothed, counseled and taught, orphans and widows are cared for, the sick are healed, bandaged, and comforted. Life is ministry and ministry is together because life is ministry.
Ministry together is not just something we support; it is who we are and what we do.
We pray together, invite together, share together, bring together, show together, counsel together, give together, go together, plan and strategize together, that we may see the gospel preached to all the nations and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). Then we will worship together. We have a lot to learn about missions, evangelism and mercy ministry. But learning will come as we find ourselves doing ministry together. Our age is an age of prosperity, yet in our riches we are incredibly impoverished. Our age is an age of popularity, yet amidst all our global "friends" we are seriously lonely. Our age is an age of privilege, yet in our freedom we are hopelessly imprisoned. The imprisoned, lonely and impoverished need the ministry of those who have been by the mercy of Christ made rich, who belong to one another and who are free indeed.
What effect might our ministry together have on this city, community, state or world? Mark Greene wrote a poem about doing ministry together. It is a poem written in the thought of "chaos theory", the scientific idea that a small change in one part of the world can trigger a chain of events that ultimately produces a major change somewhere else. The poem begins this way:
With a tremor of its wafer wing,
They say, a butterfly in Beijing
Can, in time, spin a tornado
across the Kansas plain,
Or hurl a tidal wave booming into Carolina's tranquil bays.
So, what then of a kiss for the dying,
An embrace for the untouched,
Or a tenderness to the crushed?
What of a whisper of grace,
A word of love unfurled,
Or a door to truth flung wide?
Will not these unwind the twisted heart
And still the waves of endless whys?
Is this not the fountain spray
That soars through time
And splashes eternity in our eyes?
The answer is yes. By doing ministry together in the mercy and truth of Christ and his gospel, we show the world the truth and God mends the broken heart and heals the wounded soul, and rescues the walking dead.