Our job – our only job and the last instructions Jesus gave us on earth – is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). And this is what a disciple is: someone who trustingly follows Jesus because Jesus is the true Messiah-King who is worthy of all love, honor, and obedience. This is what God the Father is doing through his Son, Jesus, by the Holy Spirit: drawing people to himself so that they might believe this and be laborers in Jesus’ Kingdom.
God’s purpose is to bring glory to himself, and he does this, in part, through creating a people who follow Jesus. For our joy and God’s glory, he uses us to accomplish his mission of creating followers of Jesus. As we carry out his instructions to make followers of Jesus, the inevitable outcome is the growth of the local church. Get this: if you make disciples you get the local church. Why is the creation and growth of a local church the inevitable product of making disciples? It’s a link Jesus himself created: when Jesus said “make disciples” in Matthew 28, he linked it to “baptizing”. In the book of Acts and the letters of the New Testament, it is clear that baptism means entering into a worshipping community with accountability and boundaries. Indeed, the very commands Jesus gave us through his Word can only be followed in the context of a community of Christ-followers. That’s why the New Testament focuses on the Christian life in the context of the local church.
So the mission of every church is the same: to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus. There are probably endless possibilities of how to do this. But the mission is the same: make disciples. Some churches do this well. Other churches do it poorly. But it is the call on all Christians and all churches.
Here is how we express this mission at Louisville Evangelical Free Church:
Helping people to follow Jesus together
The word “helping” reminds us that we can only play a part in the mission of making disciples. God’s plan and process for making us more like Christ differs from person to person, and happens in different places and times. We want to help people move forward, but we do this with an attitude of humility knowing that God is working in greater ways than we can fathom.
We want to help people follow Jesus. This word “follow” reminds us that what matters most is people finding and following Jesus. It reminds us that he is worthy of all our trust and we want to know him more than anyone else. It reminds us that Jesus is our authority and we want to become like Jesus. And it reminds us that we are on a journey of following Jesus – it’s something that goes on for the rest of our lives.
Finally, the word “together” reminds us that Jesus calls us to become more like him in the context of the church community. God created us with differences – from our experiences to our personalities to our giftings to our convictions – and these differences help us grow in a spiritually healthy way that uniformity does not.
Our mission is to help people follow Jesus together. Even now we pray that the Lord would send his Holy Spirit in the hearts of the people in this community so that he might draw them to himself and make them into Kingdom Laborers who will help others follow Jesus.