Reflections on Mission

As I get ready to head out for the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Baptist Conference, I find myself thinking about the upcoming vote that we’re going to take.  The vote concerns the new emphasis of the conference and how it is going to impact the ongoing relationship between the conference and the churches.  I find the conference (and Converge Worldwide) placing an extremely high emphasis on mission (singular)  and evangelism, which can be good.  Unfortunately it can also be a problem, because a stilted emphasis on evangelism can cause other aspects of ministry to be neglected or discarded.

I have been a part of three Baptist organizations now, and the ongoing trend seems to be this:  Existing church = worthless; Church plant = Godly.  The rationale behind this thought process is that existing churches simply do not or cannot reach people the way that church plants do.  That idea is born out statistically, and existing churches do need to place a priority on reaching people.  However, it is also a serious problem when a church or an organization makes evangelism the sole focus of its ministry.

Although I have some issues with “The Purpose Driven Church,” it does provide us with a decent framework for what a church is supposed to do Biblically:  fellowship, discipleship, worship, ministry, and evangelism.  You may be familiar with the concept from reading “The Purpose Driven Life” (which I also have some methodological issues with).  Here is the point: evangelism is not the only aspect of a churches ministry, and to judge a church solely by that criteria is unBiblical.

A blog post got me thinking about this issue recently.  It is by a church planter who is successful, and feels like he has neglected some aspects of church life and ministry along the way.  His post is entitled Church Planters and Missionalotry.

Mission updates/opportunities

Please don’t forget about our upcoming mission’s luncheon on June 7th.  Paul and Christina Eckhoff will be sharing with us as we enjoy our potluck lunch.  I’m looking forward to sampling all of the dishes!

Also, Dan Utley will be with us on July 5th to talk about his new ministry direction.  He is now working with SCORE International to help churches in the U.S. to build relationships with churches in other countries.  One way that he helps is by arranging mission trips to other countries.

Dan has some openings for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in August (8-15).  The purpose of the trip is to “minister to Dominican churches, missionaries, and people through service, encouragement and authentic love.” The basic cost for the trip is $1495,  and you must have a valid passport and have your polio and tetanus shots up to date.  Please let me know if you need Dan’s contact information.

Even if you can’t go on the trip, you can still help.  Dan is asking that we collect coloring books, crayons, small bottles of bubbles, Spanish Tracts, children’s clothing, small toys, and stuffed animals.  He’ll be able to pick it all up when he is here in July.  He is also looking for monetary gifts to take with him in order to purchase food items to distribute to poor families in the Sugarcane Villages.