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From the Coordinator: The Church at the Center

By Lloyd Kim, Jul 2, 2019

One of our core values at Mission to the World is the Church. We love the Church because Jesus loves the Church. The Church is the bride of Christ. Therefore all the various ministries that we are engaged in at Mission to World ask the question, “How do these ministries grow the Church, revitalize the Church, plant churches?” In other words, the Church is at the center.

Does this mean that we are not concerned about matters of justice and mercy? Of course not. Part of the Great Commission mandate is “teaching them (our disciples) to observe all that I (Jesus) have commanded you,” (Matt. 28:20). Jesus has some pretty clear teachings on how we are to care for the hungry, thirsty, strangers, sick, and prisoners (Matt. 25:31–46). But this work of mercy is never divorced from our identity as the body of Christ, nor the proclamation of good news of the kingdom.

So often, we treat these callings as if they were either in opposition to one another or completely separate activities, as if we have to choose between planting and revitalizing churches and engaging in acts of mercy and justice as they reflect God’s love—but that’s simply not so.

All across the globe, MTW missionaries are living out the Great Commission. Their callings and ministries are diverse, yet the Church is at the center of each one.

In Greece, a mature church, driven by a holistic view of the gospel, ministers to the physical needs of the community around it. In remote villages around the world, missionary physicians use their God-given abilities and the wonders of science to pave the way for the family of faith. In Colombia, a searching student finds connection and community in a church Bible study in the midst of a bustling metropolis. In Zimbabwe, a fledgling Christian community in a remote African village meets under a tree and learns the hope of grace.

We, the Church, are to serve as signposts in the fog, pointing toward what will be. As followers of Jesus, we declare to the world: “Jesus has risen. Death is defeated. Something new has begun. Repent and believe.” But then—and this is our enormous privilege—we get to be part of that “something new” here and now. When we heal the sick, befriend the lonely, make God-glorifying art and music, seek economic and racial justice in our communities, we can point forward toward the ultimate redemption of the cosmos and say—this is but a taste of what will come.

That’s why a mature church, embracing the fullness of the gospel, does all these things. That’s why we, at MTW, do all these things. Acts of mercy, justice, kindness, and creativity draw people to the church, and they are a natural outworking of the church. Our ministries are not islands—church planting or medical ministry; economic empowerment or Reformed theological education. They overlap, yet the Church is always at the center, and that’s just the way it should be.

 

Lloyd Kim

Lloyd Kim is coordinator of Mission to the World. He is a former PCA pastor and a former missionary with MTW in the Philippines and Cambodia. He holds an M.Div. from Westminster Seminary in California and a Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. Lloyd and his wife, Eda, are the parents of Kaelyn, Christian, and Katy.

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