The Importance of Our Mission
Churches today expend great amounts of energy and resources pursuing success. However, not everyone agrees on what success in the church looks like. Multitudes of books have been written in an attempt to help pastors and church leaders define success and build successful churches. Interestingly, there are almost as many ideas as to what success looks like as there are books on the topic!
Many contemporary leaders in evangelical churches equate success with the numeric increase of the congregation. These leaders believe growth in size is one of the primary evidences of spiritual success. They contend as long as the church is growing and people are coming, they must be doing something right and God must be pleased or else He would not be blessing them.
Other evangelical leaders equate success not so much with size but with accomplishment. As long as programs are organized and carried out effectively and things are running smoothly, the ministry is succeeding. Effective outreach strategies for ministry in the community, number of foreign missionaries supported, social ministry to the poor and hungry, and programs to entertain or minister to the families in the membership are all benchmarks by which many contemporary churches measure success.
Some evangelical churches even equate success with mass evangelism and will do almost anything to get more decisions. Sadly, at the end of the day, many who make decisions in these churches are nowhere to be found as healthy growing disciples.
In the midst of all of this confusion, what will help Brookside Baptist Church achieve biblical success in the eyes of God? How will we avoid the pitfall of pursuing the wrong kind of success and thereby end up missing Godís design and desire for His church?
The answer is amazingly simple. Brookside will only succeed if we accomplish the goals and objectives God has set for His church. Furthermore, not only must we accomplish the right goals and objectives, we must strive to reach them in right ways. God clearly identified His mission for the Church in His Word.
Since biblical success is measured by how well a church accomplishes the right mission in the right ways, getting the mission right is one of the most important things you need to understand as you connect with our church family.
We believe God is the only One who has the right to set the mission for Brookside, and we believe He has given us very clear and direct statements which leave no question about the nature of that mission.
Identifying Our Mission
A mission doesnít just happen, it must be intentionally implemented. Everything we do as a church must help advance the goals and objectives set by God as our mission. The New Testament book that best explains Godís mission for His Church is Ephesians. Here God reveals He has determined to accomplish His objectives and goals in His universe through a group of people He has redeemed, forgiven, and formed into a body called the Church. The ultimate end or objective to all God is doing in His Church is expressed in the final words of Paulís prayer for the Ephesian Christians:
To Him (God) be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. (Eph. 3:21)
According to this verse the ultimate measure of success for Brookside is how well we bring glory to God through Christ. In other words, our mission is to glorify God by causing others to come to a right opinion of God.
This means at the end of the day it will not matter how big our church gets, or how many decisions we can point to, or how many programs we have developed and implemented. If we have not glorified God and caused others to come to right opinions about Him then we have failed.
Ephesians does not just identify Godís primary mission as His glory. Paul goes on to reveal some important ways God has determined to use to bring Himself glory through the Church.
First, God wants to glorify Himself in this age and in the age to come by redeeming and saving wicked rebellious people who are hopelessly lost in sin. He extends saving grace to these individuals to display His exceedingly rich grace in one glorious expression of kindness to undeserving sinners.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:4-7)
A second important way God intends to magnify His glory is by displaying His unmatched, multi-faceted wisdom to all created intelligences in the universe. God displays His rich grace by redeeming lost sinners and forming them into His Church. The marvelous plan God designed to accomplish this gracious goal without violating His righteous character serves as a permanent glorious display of His brilliant wisdom.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Eph. 3:8-11)
Implementing Our Mission
The mission of the Church is to bring God glory by serving as a permanent, living display of both His redeeming grace and His sovereign wisdom. This mission happens practically when born again members of Godís Church live transformed lives that display this grace and wisdom in real world obedience to Godís Word by walking worthy of this high calling.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentlness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:1-3)
It will be important that you recognize that connecting with Brooksideís mission is more than just understanding and agreeing with the ideas expressed here. It will involve a commitment to advance this mission by living a transformed, obedient, Spirit-empowered life that is conformed to what God has stated in His Word.
Practically speaking at Brookside, this means you should strive to be a growing member. In other words, you will study Godís Word in order to know how He expects you to think and act. You will strive to grow in your relationship to Jesus Christ by diligently adding to your profession of the faith the qualities of moral excellence, biblical knowledge, self-control, endurance, godly character, kindness toward others, and selfless love.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-11)
It also means you should be an obedient member. Many churches define success as numerical growth or as salvation decisions and are content if their members claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, the Bible makes it clear that God is not glorified when we merely claim to be His followers. In fact, the Bible teaches when we fail to live lives that genuinely reflect our claim to be followers of Christ, we actually dishonor God and shame His name.
But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)
So glorifying God at Brookside means you will grow in your love, knowledge, and obedience to God. It also means you should want to be a serving member. When you connect with the mission God has called Brookside to fulfill, you will gladly place your time, talents, and treasure at Godís disposal for His use as He directs your service in our congregation.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:19-22)
From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:16)
Finally, glorifying God at Brookside means you should want to be a sharing member. By this we mean that you will commit to endeavor to be a good witness for Jesus Christ. You will actively participate in ďGreat Commission livingĒ by endeavoring to introduce people to Jesus Christ and then helping them grow as His disciples.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Ē Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28.18-20)
Communicating Our Mission
By now you should have a fairly clear picture of the mission God has established for Brookside Baptist Church. I have included several important passages of Scripture to help you understand that this mission was not formed by our leadership team. We did not decide what our mission would be as a church. Our mission was established for us by the Head of the Church Himself. That is how important it is. Our job is to identify Godís mission from His Word and then implement it in our lives as growing, obedient members of Brookside. We donít have to grow as a church, but we do have to obey God and glorify His Name!
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God. (I Cor. 4:1-5)
This means the mission must be articulated clearly, concisely, and consistently by both the congregation and the leadership team. Remember, we didnít come up with the mission, God did. However, we do have the responsibility as a local church to come up with a way to communicate and articulate that mission clearly. To help all of us stay on the same page, the leadership team at Brookside has chosen three important ways to communicate this single mission.
A Short Purpose Statement that sets our direction:
ďExalting Godís Glory in the Church . . . Extending Godís Glory throughout the World . . . by Walking Worthy of Our CallingĒ
An Expanded Mission Statement that keeps us on target:
ďThe mission of the membership of Brookside Baptist Church is to glorify God by advancing Christís name in Brookfield, Milwaukee, and the World by:
∑ Exalting the Savior (God-honoring Worship)
∑ Evangelizing the Sinner (Mission and Commission)
∑ Edifying and Equipping the Saved (Discipleship and Fellowship)
∑ Engaging the Servants (Ministry)
through the preaching of Godís Word and the glad obedience of Godís People for the praise of His glory.Ē
A Clarifying Vision Statement that sets the context for doing our mission:
ďPeople caring for people in a Bible-centered, family-oriented ministry.Ē