What does the Bible say about the mission of the church?

Jesus said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18), so the mission of the church comes from Jesus (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 17; 15:9).

First, to understand what Jesus wants of the church, we must know and understand Jesus. To do so, read the Bible—His Word (John 1:1–14). Jesus is "the sun about which the whole mission of the church revolves," as W. C. Robinson writes in Baker's Dictionary of Theology. He goes on to say, "Public worship is the encounter of the risen Redeemer with His people; evangelism is calling men to the Savior; publishing the law of God is proclaiming His lordship; Christian nurture is feeding His lambs and disciplining His flock; ministering to the needs of men is continuing the work of the Great Physician."

Jesus calls us, the church, to make disciples—followers of Jesus. He provided the "Great Commission" to His followers as He prepared to return to heaven, send the Holy Spirit, and start the church. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18–20).

Part of the mission of the church is to glorify Jesus—meaning to emulate and honor Him, and replicate His mission. "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:11–12). The lifestyle of those who are part of the church should reflect Jesus' values. Colossians 1:13–14 says, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (See also 2 Corinthians 6:14—7:1; Ephesians 5:1—6:9; Colossians 3:1–17; 1 Timothy 3:15). Jesus told His followers, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). The church is designed to point others to Jesus, to care compassionately for others, to proclaim the truth, and to show what a free and forgiven people look like.

Another part of the mission of the church is growing the maturity of Jesus' followers. Ephesians 4:11–14 says, "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes." Hebrews 10:23–25 exhorts, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." First Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." The church should function as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:1–21) in unity to the glory of God.

The church can show unbelievers who God is and what His family looks like, including inviting them to be part of His family through faith in Jesus (Mark 3:35; John 1:12; Ephesians 2:19–22; 4:4–32). The mission of the church involves both proclaiming and living the truth of God in allegiance to Jesus. Within the church, believers should mature. The church together serves as a witness and ambassador of Christ to the lost and broken world (2 Corinthians 5:17–21).

Related Truth:

What is the definition of the church?

What was God's purpose in establishing the church?

When did the church begin? How did the church start?

What is the universal church and how is it different from the local church?

Why is having a church family so valuable?

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