What is the mission of the church?

Just what is its purpose for existence? The mission of the church is three-fold: (1) evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16); (2) edification (Acts 14:21-23; Acts 16:1-5); and (3) benevolence (James 1:27; Acts 6:1-7). Or, the mission of the church might be stated as follows: the mission of the church is the same as that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which is to save souls. And in so doing, the three areas of involvement for the church are evangelism, edification, and benevolence. At Luke 19:10, our Lord declares concerning His mission: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

In the work of evangelizing, the church is to strive to reach out to everyone who has not obeyed the gospel with the saving message of salvation. At Acts 5:42, the scripture informs us that, “…daily in the temple, and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And after persecution was brought upon the church at Jerusalem, “…they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Within the first century A. D., the gospel of Christ had been preached throughout the civilization around the Mediterranean Sea, especially the Roman Empire (Colossians 1:3, 23). Not everyone in whom we come in contact with the gospel will obey it; nevertheless, we are responsible to reach out to them with the saving message of salvation (Ezekiel 3:17-21).

In the area of edification, it is essential that we keep the saved saved and to continue to strengthen and build up their faith. Notice in the Great Commission that we must not only convert those who have not become children of God by teaching them the gospel of Christ and baptizing them, but we are also to teach those precious souls what is necessary to remain a faithful Christian (Matthew 28:19-20).

Benevolence is an important ministry of Christians as individuals and collectively as congregations (James 1:27; Galatians 6:10; Romans 15:24-27). The term benevolence, as used in this way, means to show kindness and generosity in looking after the physical needs of our fellowman. After all, we will be judged on the Day of Judgement in this matter as to whether or not we showed compassion in looking after the dire physical needs of others (Matthew 25:31-46). However, there have been those who place greater emphasis upon mankind’s physical needs over the spiritual. They talk about the “felt needs” of man rather than his spiritual welfare. This is wrong! Regardless of a person’s physical needs, his or her eternal spiritual welfare takes priority.

--Dub Mowery

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