A healthy church has an apostolic mission, which helps the church in being clear on what to do to see success.
What is an Apostolic Mission?
An Apostolic Mission clarifies the unique purpose of the church. The specific assignment Christ has given to a local church in fulfilling their part of the Great Commission. Your apostolic mission answers the key question ‘what does your church exist to do?’ Think of it as the job description – the one thing your church needs to do to be successful at what Jesus has called you to do.
‘Apostle’ comes from the Greek ‘apostolos’, or ‘sent one’. Christ came into the world, sent by the Father. He, in turn, sent out his apostles, with a clear job – the Great Commission. The Great Commission is literally a ‘co-mission’ – a partnership – between us and Christ, which is why He makes it clear that He is ‘with [the apostles] – and by extension, us – until the very end of the age.’ We can see the details of this in Matthew 28.
To unpack further the concept of apostolic mission, we can define an apostle as ‘someone sent somewhere, by someone, to do something.’ Christ was sent to Earth as a missionary by the Father to seek and save the lost. Peter was the apostle sent to the Jews, and Paul to the Gentiles. Because Christ is our Great Apostle, as Hebrews tells us, and has sent us, our first, fundamental question to ask as a church then is this:
To whom, or where, has He sent us?
To what place, or what people, are we called to reach? What part of this Great Commission is our responsibility?
When we know the answer, we must focus on it relentlessly and faithfully.
Why is an Apostolic Mission important?
Apostolic mission brings an awareness, clarity, and focus on God’s unique call to the church, for both leaders and the people.
What does healthy Apostolic Mission bring to a church?
- Apostolic Mission provides the bedrock for the church to discern its God-given vision.
- Apostolic Mission enables the church to identify the values it needs for success.
- Apostolic Mission aids the church in implementing the right structural form and function.
- Apostolic Mission enables the church to correctly discern priorities.
What happens if an Apostolic Mission is lacking?
Resources, time, energy and money are spent on activity God hasn’t called the church to do.
What helps develop an Apostolic Mission?
- The church Senior Leadership Team have a united conviction of the ‘who’ and ‘where’ God has called the church to reach and disciple.
- A clearly articulated mission statement that:
- Is written in the present tense;
- Is a ‘doing’ statement;
- Is short and sharp – can be written on a t-shirt or a business card;
- begins ‘We exist to…’.
- It is clear to the people in the church
- All church ministries & programs are aware of and always ‘on-mission’
How healthy is the Apostolic Mission of your church? Is it apostolic, as in, focused outwards onto a people or place God has called you to reach? Is it missional, as in, it compels action, initiative and movement? To discover the health of your Apostolic Mission, as well as the other keys to church health, contact me today.
This post contains sample content from my book ‘Keys to Church Health’. You can download a FREE chapter by clicking here.