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A church not for ourselves

Jan 12, 2023

It’s fascinating to reflect on Jesus’ parting instructions to his disciples. He doesn’t give them motivational words on how to navigate suffering, or how to maximise their talent, or how to have a fulfilling life. Instead, Jesus tells them to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt.28:19); that they will be his “witnesses” (Acts 1:8). His priority was to tell his followers to advance the gospel. 

This means that we cannot be a church for ourselves. God calls us to declare the gospel of Christ to others. We’re not called into a relationship with God to be passive. Ours is a public, dynamic, and engaged faith. 

Think about the implications of this for a moment. Don Carson says, “Put the advance of the gospel at the centre of your aspirations. Our own comfort, our bruised feelings, our reputations, our misunderstood motives—all of these are insignificant in comparison with the advance and splendour of the gospel. As Christians, we are called upon to put the advance of the gospel at the very centre of our aspirations. What are your aspirations? To make money? To get married? To travel? To see your grandchildren grow up? To find a new job? To retire early? None of these is inadmissible; none is to be despised. The question is whether these aspirations become so devouring that the Christian’s central aspiration is squeezed to the periphery or choked out of existence entirely.”

How can we be people who make our central aspiration the advance the gospel?

This Sunday is our Annual Missions Sunday. We welcome Dr Christopher Wright of Langham Foundation to our 9.30am and 11.30am services. Langham is involved in the building of God’s church through publishing, training preachers, and providing scholarships to future leaders. St Andrew’s also supports 13 additional organisations, couples, and individuals involved in gospel ministry. 

God calls us to declare the gospel of Christ to others

This Sunday, we want to be challenged in how we can support our mission partners, but also how each of us can be involved in mission. Here are four brief encouragements about how we can be involved.

Be informed. Find out about our mission partners and their work. Mission is not a task that we outsource and forget about. Partnership means understanding. You’ll find that as you get to know our mission partners, their ministry will engage you. This is the first step of deeper involvement.   

Pray. Pray for our mission partners. Join with us in praying for them on Sundays, but also pray for them individually. Pray also for people in your own life who are yet to know Jesus. Often at St Andrew’s we talk about “the fives”: praying regularly for five people to come to know Jesus. 

Give. Our mission partners are dependent on financial support for their ministry. Part of our church budget goes directly to our mission partners. Prayerfully consider how you can partner with them through what God has given you. 

Go. Get involved yourself using your time and talents, volunteering by yourself or with your Growth Group. As we serve, God blesses us as our own faith inevitably deepens. 

Alex McCoy
Vicar

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