Rev Dr Gordon Moyes The Superintendent Writes
A weekly column by Rev Dr Gordon Moyes, Superintendent of Wesley Mission.
September 9th, 2001
 

I find it necessary to remind people constantly of the mission of the church. Unless we understand the mission that Christ has given us, we are unlikely to fulfil it. Worse, we may even work against it. I know of one minister who preached on the mission of the church as follows: The mission of the church, he said, is to prepare for Christ's return in five ways: prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and evangelism. Heads nodded in agreement. The only trouble was that the pastor was wrong. Of course, these five spiritual exercises are central to the church's life; but we also have the Great Commandment to obey as well as the Great Commission. We have the responsibility to redeem our culture as well as our souls. Though well intentioned, the pastor's words were a prescription for the continued marginalization of the church.

Many Christians, especially new Christians, define faith strictly in terms of personal salvation. Yet this mission, as expressed in the books of Sir Alan Walker and myself over fifty years, is not only to win the world, but to change the world. We are not only saved FROM sin, we are also saved TO something - to the task of cultivating God's creation. Genesis teaches that on the first five days, God himself did the work of creating. But on the sixth day, He made human beings in His image to carry on His work—to develop the raw materials of the world He had created.

We are to follow the Great Commandment in loving and serving God with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength and our neighbour as ourselves. This is just as binding as the "great commission" to preach the Gospel and to baptize. It means our faith is intended to encompass every part of life, every sphere of work, every aspect of the world. That is why Wesley Mission is based upon a word and deed ministry and keeping that balance is central to a balanced faith and ministry.

In short, our faith must be a complete worldview, the basic set of beliefs that function as glasses determining how we see all reality. If God is creator and sovereign over everything, as we confess He is, then everything finds its identity and meaning in our relationship to Him--not only our spiritual life but also our work, politics, science, education, and the arts. If you want to make a proper study of this read: “How Now Shall We Live?” by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey. The mission of the church is indeed prayer and evangelism, just as the pastor said that Sunday. But to be effective, we must also develop a comprehensive worldview. And that, too, is the mission of the church in a post-Christian world.