Too many Christians are oblivious to God’s call to be the gospel incarnate in our world. Incarnate means “in the flesh”. Jesus is God in flesh and he calls us to become Christ in bodily form in our communities.
God is calling his church to change the world. We cannot join God on his mission by staying inside the church building. Wake up, church! Something has to splash cold water in our faces and compel us to action. What will God use to stir us from slumber: an economic winter, another attack from an enemy, a natural disaster? Or will we simply be convicted by Christ’s commission to redeem our communities for God?
How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can they preach unless they are sent?
Romans 10:14, NIV
Not all Christians are gifted to be evangelists, but all are called to be missionaries. We must develop a process to grow every church member into an effective missionary. Can you imagine the power and potential for God’s mission in our worship ministries—the resources, the people, the artistic giftedness? How many lives will be impacted by the gospel if we invest those resources in strategic community missions?
In Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, Gailyn Van Rheenen wrote:
“In a real sense, mission is the very lifeblood of the church. As the body cannot survive without blood, so the church cannot survive without mission. Without blood the body dies; without mission the church dies. As the physical body becomes anemic without sufficient oxygen-carrying red blood cells, so the church becomes anemic if it does not express its faith. Mission is the force that gives the body of Christ vibrancy, purpose, and direction. When the church neglects its role as God’s agent for mission, it is actually neglecting its own lifeblood.”
Wow, what a statement! Is the evangelical church today actually bleeding away its lifeblood by trying to horde our giftedness inside the church building? FLESHING OUT THE GOSPEL IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE CHURCH. Statistics show we are in dire need of a transfusion because we have put all our hope in attractional strategies, trying to win the world by getting the world into churches. God is calling us to be Christ incarnate – in the flesh. How can YOU embody the gospel in your community today and tomorrow and the next day? — Mark Powers
Van Rheenen, Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, 31.