To the Saints of God at HGBC,
As most of you know I have begun working on my Doctor of Ministry degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. My first seminar is at the end of May so I would appreciate your prayers as I attempt to get all my reading and writing done. I am studying in the field of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, and I have been blessed already by the books I have read and am reading.
One of the major themes in this field of study today is focused around the word “missional.” You might be asking what is “missional?” I’m glad you asked. Missional is the adjective form of the noun mission or missionary. The concept that is being discussed and promoted is that of every Christ follower looking at his own neighborhood, community and church as a missionary. “What does this mean?” you might be asking. Well, let me ask you a question, “What do you think a missionary does?”
I believe it is the task of the missionary to study his “new” environment and culture, learn it, and seek to present the gospel of Christ in a way that those in this “new” culture will hear, understand and receive the message. It means the missionary must learn the language. It means the missionary must adapt himself and his method’s to them rather than asking them to adapt themselves to him. In other words, the missionary’s job is not to make them look, dress, talk and act like Americans, but he is to adapt to their way of living. Be very careful at this point, this is NOT a call to compromise the teaching of Scripture. A Christ follower should never compromise his beliefs or his behavior, according to the clear teaching of Scripture, for any reason at all, even to the point of death.
With this in mind let me ask you a few questions. The first question is “Are you a ‘missional’ Christian?” I believe being “missional” is exactly what the Great Commission calls you and me to be. Mark 16:15 tells us “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person.” It is not their responsibility to come to us, we are to go to them. We are not to attempt to make them like us, we are to make ourselves and teach them to be like Jesus. Being “missional” is exactly what Jesus did for you and me according to Philippians 2:5-8, “5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in THE LIKENESS OF MEN. 8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (NKJV). If this is the method/mode of operation for Jesus Christ in dealing with us, shouldn’t it be the M/O of every one of us as well? I believe the answer is yes.
The second question is “Are you willing to make the necessary changes in your own life so that you can become a ‘missional’ Christ follower?” This is a very important question that each of us answers on a daily basis. May the decisions we make bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 10:31).
The last question is “Are you willing to make the necessary changes so that HGBC can become a ‘missional’ church?” You might be asking, “Aren’t we a ‘missional’ church already?” I encourage you to look back over what we have defined as “missional” already as you ponder whether or not HGBC is a “missional” church. I ask you, “Are we willing to do what ever is necessary to reach out to the lost in our community or do we want them to change to look and be like us?” “Are we willing to lay down our personal preferences so that we can present the message of the Savior to those who don’t share our “taste” for things, whether it is music, times for worship, dress, or anything else?” I believe that these are the things that we are being called to do by our Commander-in-Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ. And I pray that we all are willing to reach the unreached whatever the cost. May God bless us as we seek to serve Him, not ourselves, in Green Cove Springs and around this world.