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Mission or Marketing?

Sep 15, 2006 at 23:24

By: Steve Hill

Last July while we were with Bob & Trudy Hyde in Brixham, we watched a DVD of Steve Chalk preaching at one of the Bible weeks that England is famous for. Steve is the founder of Oasis Trust,, which has established hostels, orphanages, schools and hospitals all over the world.

On the DVD he made a statement something like this, "Our Christology must form our missiology which must form our ecclisiology. In other words, what we believe about Christ must form how we do mission and that must form how we do church. We often let our ecclesiology form our missiology and that forms our Christology. We often start with how we do church and that forms how we do our mission and how we do our mission shapes how we and our world view God."

Steve's commitment to Jesus first, mission second and community expression last has led him to reopen old, once grand, churches in city centers with the vision of them becoming 24/7 community centers for the homeless, the addicted and the marginalized.

What view of God do people have if "God's house" keeps moving to the suburbs? What view of God to people receive if the most important thing they perceive us to do is a performance once per week within four walls?

It is not mission to have a better children's program or worship program than the church down the road so that christians "looking for a church" will go to you rather than to them. That is not mission. That is marketing.

Do you ever read the church adds in the community papers? You know the ones- "The Church Where People Matter", "Preaching the Uncompromised Word", "The Friendly Church"! As is the other churches do not care about people! As if the others preach a compromised word or are unfriendly!

The mission implied in all the adds is "Come to us, we will meet your needs!" Someone has said the church tends to have a geography problem. Jesus told us to go to the world and we want the world to come to us!

Besides, as a christian your job is not to find a community that meets your needs. Your job is to create community for those who do not have it.

But the problem with being church rather than just going is one of responsibility. If I just attend, I am not responsible. If I am the church, then I am responsible. If Jesus is my head, then I am responsible to Him. True Christianity is total personal responsibility to obey the commands of Jesus.

The message of the cross is powerfully comforting! Jesus died for my sins! He took total responsibility for my wrong choices. The message of the cross is also terrifying. In the light of the cross I am without excuse.

That sense of responsibility is part of the reason for the success of the Chinese church. They shout that in their vision statements such as, "Every disciple a church planter. Every house a church!" Or "It is good to make a disciple but better yet to plant a house church and better yet to plant a house church network!"

This is part of our message to our friends in Central Asia.

How has your understanding of Jesus formed your mission?

Love and responsibility!

Harvest Now!

Steve & Marilyn


PS: The session of our training school for new converts (October- December) starts soon! We need to finish our training school house and need several thousand dollars to finish and furnish. The team has put in many hours of sweat equity. Will you help them buy the materials to finish the project? Your gifts can be placed on our Harvest Now account, 405606087, Houten. Thanks!

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