One of the characteristics of our church about which I am most proud is that we are a deeply “missional” people. If that’s a new term for you, then you need to know it (and own it), because living out God’s mission and extending the cause of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit is something every church has been tasked with doing.
Unfortunately, many churches take an “attractional” approach in fulfilling their purpose. By that I mean that they rely on the physical locations of their church building to enable them to reach their communities. In years past, that way of doing church actually worked relatively effectively. Make sure your church was in a visible, accessible location and it was often the case that people would find you and give you a look. But in our present day of post-institutionalism not even a good location will keep a church viable. It takes doing ministry to attract people who are weary of places that exist only to serve themselves.
MBBC is of course blessed with a prime location, one that I wouldn’t trade for any other location in Mountain Brook. But never has this church leaned upon its location to secure its future. From the very beginning our church was an “others-centered” congregation, which is about as good a definition of missional as I can come up with. You look back at the history of our church and you will see that we have been sending groups out on mission for years, and in so doing we have extended the presence of Mountain Brook Baptist Church and, more importantly, the cause of Jesus Christ, all around the world.
This summer will be no different. This next week we’ll have a group going to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, as a part of the Builders for Christ ministry, a long-standing partner that works with churches who are either in pioneer locations, are new church starts, or have found themselves in a place where they are in dire need of sister churches to help them get back up and running. It’s the latter reason that our church will be going to Gatlinburg to help the Roaring Fork Baptist Church recover from last year’s wildfires.
But that’s not the only group heading out in the coming weeks. We will also see our Youth Chapel Choir leave for a music and ministry tour that will take them through Central Alabama into Louisiana and Texas. By the way, you will be able to hear their concert presentation on Wednesday, June 14, during the 6pm hour.
Then the next week our Family Mission Trip team will be heading out to Wellington, Colorado to help the Trailhead Church, a new church start in the northern part of the state, near Fort Collins. There they will be involved in a sports camp designed to help that new church reach out into its growing community.
In addition to these special missions excursions, we have the ongoing ministries of our church that seek to meet needs in our own community. In fact, just a glance at any of our church publications will give you an appreciation for just how committed our church is to having an impact for Christ throughout the year and not just in this one season.
You may not be able to make any of these impending trips or even be personally involved in any of the ongoing missional ministries of our church. But you can still participate through your prayers for those who will be going. Pray that God will find favor with all that our people do to meet needs in Jesus’ name. Pray for safe travel and for God to watch over them while they’re away. Pray, of course, for their safe return and for them to bring back stories of how they saw God at work through their various ministry activities.
Then, in addition to your prayers, look for opportunities to serve the cause of Christ in every place God puts you in the days ahead. It may be in your neighborhood. It may be at your office. It may be where you shop and play. Every place is a potential mission field when people open their eyes and hearts to the possibilities that are before them.
If all of us together take missions not just as an occasional endeavor but as a way of life, then our church will become all that God needs us to be. That’s because God honors the obedience of His people and smiles upon us when we do what He gives us to do. For any church that wants to be vibrant and more effective, I can’t think of a better place to begin.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (Jas. 1:22).