mission statement – a short statement of an organization’s purpose, identifying the scope of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation.
Most successful organizations and businesses promote a pithy mission statement to communicate their purpose for being. God was the trailblazer for mission statements. We will explore my proposal for the Church’s mission statement.
God provides specific instructions to the church in 1 Timothy 2.
1 Timothy 2
1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
This is a timely reminder for people with post-election blues after their candidate lost. We are urged to petition, pray, intercede, and give thanks for all people, especially for those in authority. There is no qualifier for those in authority. Even if you did not vote for them, do not like them, or disagree with how they govern, we are still exhorted to pray for those in authority. Why? So that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Who doesn’t want that? I believe that this is to fend off bitterness, partisanship, and pride. This is a great reminder to all in the Church. Freudenschade (taking pleasure in someone else’s sorrows or misfortunes) is a fruit of the flesh.
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
This is good and pleases God our Savior. It pleases God when we live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness. Repent and confess if you have had a bad attitude. God wants you to be free from the weight of this world.
4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Here is a gem in the bible that should be on a neon sign. I believe that it’s the mission statement for the Church. The first part is that “God wants all to be saved”. All without exception. Will all believe? No. But it doesn’t change God’s will. The next word is “and”. And is a conjunction. In logic, the statement is true only if both parts are true. The second part is “To come to a knowledge of the truth”. The Greek word for knowledge in the verse is epiginosko, which means to know that you know, an experiential knowledge of the truth. This is more than a head knowledge but a tangible knowledge. What is the truth? Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). The Bible is the truth (John 17:17). We need both Jesus (holy spirit, Christ in you Colossians 1:27) and the Bible to experientially know the truth.
Here is a summary of the 2 parts of the mission statement.
- God wants all to be saved
- Those that are saved to experience the knowledge of the truth
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
This is the reason for the mission statement. There is one God. There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Christ paid the debt owed for our lives (Galatians 3:13-14).
7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
Paul is certifying that these verses and true and swearing on the credentials of his office.
I realize that this teaching is contrary to the widely accepted teaching of the Great Commission as it applies to the Church. I believe that the Great Commission is true at the time during the Gospel. Bear with me while I attempt to clarify the difference.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
“go and make disciples of all nations” is not the same as “who [God] wants all people to be saved”. Disciples are committed to following what they have been taught. In the Gospels, the disciples were sons by adoption. After the day of Pentecost, salvation is available via sonship by birth. Jesus taught about being born again (literally born from above). Adoptions do not involve a birth.
In 1 Peter 1:23
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Adoption does not involve seed but a birth does.
Spiritual birth was not available until after the day of Pentecost. In Colossians 1:27
To them, God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
In the Gospels, the disciples sometimes had Christ WITH them, but not always. After Pentecost, the born again sons have Christ IN them always.
“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” was likely not in the original texts. There is no record in the book of Acts where this command was carried out. It’s hard to fathom that the apostles would have omitted this critical command. The more likely translation is “baptizing them in my name” which is wording used on multiple occasions.
“teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” If we are to only teach what Jesus commanded then we lose the richness and vast wealth revealed in the Church letters. “come to a knowledge of the truth” includes the fathomless wisdom from the church letters and the commands of Jesus contained in the Gospels.
Therefore, I believe that 1 Timothy 2:4 “4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.“ is a fuller and more complete command for the Church (after Pentecost) than The Great Commission.