Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
It’s funny to me how often churches struggle to come up with catchy slogans to describe what they are “all about.” A quick trip to half a dozen church websites will make it clear how much time people spend doing it. And I wonder sometimes if churches should invest their time elsewhere.
Now, I don’t think it’s wrong to come up with memorable means of communicating important information. I understand and very much appreciate the power of a well-turned phrase. But It seems that churches should spend more time clearing up the substance of what they’re all about rather than how they communicate it.
The passage above is the final few verses of Matthew 28, the famous “Great Commission”, in which Jesus sends His disciples on a mission:
Go and make disciples of Jesus everywhere.
If this is not the thesis of any book about the church’s mission (Two good ones here and here), that book is not worth reading. If churches don’t have some form of this statement as the foundation of their mission and vision, then it doesn’t matter what they say, because they’re missing the point. The big “C” Church IS about making disciples of Jesus everywhere, therefore, each local church must be about the same thing.
There are lots of things that churches should care about (in no particular order):
Teaching Biblical truth.
Singing with passion.
A welcoming atmosphere.
Sunday School programs.
But there is nothing more central, more foundational to the existence of the true church of Christ than to make disciples of Jesus. If any one of the things listed above takes the place of making disciples in the heart of a local church, that church has become something less than what Jesus intends. All of these things should exist in a church to help accomplish their ultimate mission of making disciples of Jesus everywhere.
So let’s think of creative and compelling ways to tell the world that this is what the church is about, whether we say something about “God’s grace. To us. For the world.” or existing “to spread a passion for the supremacy of Christ to the glory of God for the joy of all peoples” or simply to “Bringing glory to God by making disciples.”
However we say it, Church, let’s work to keep the main thing the main thing: Making disciples of Jesus everywhere.