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“The life and death of a church depends on how much its members are willing to proclaim the gospel to the world. If its ministers are satisfied merely with performing their functions and counseling religious people, if its members confess their faith as far as it is socially acceptable, the church will grow more and more into a sterile institution that is far from the living church of the New Testament.” E. Schweizer, The Church as the Missionary Body of Christ

John Piper in ‘Let the Nations Be Glad’ went to great lengths to argue that missions is not for the sake of evangelism alone but rather for the glory of God. And God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him so, Piper argues, missions does not end in evangelism but in worship. A wonderful and timely argument to make to our global church that seems as though at least in the West it is on the wane.

So how can Schweizer urge in 1961 that “the life and death of a church depends on how much its members are willing to proclaim the gospel to the world.” One author is concerned with our perceptions of missions ultimate value (Piper), the other author is concerned with our practice of mission (Schweizer); both are sharing with us invaluable truths. Missions does not end in evangelism it ends in worship, but a church without mission is a dead, sterile institution that is far from the living, sacrificial church of the New Testament.

We must move beyond our cultural and social pockets of comfort if we are going to be the missionary body of Christ. Our pastors, myself included, must expand their relational horizons beyond their flock to include intimate and meaningful relationships with their non-Christian neighbors. And we as local communities doted about the canvas of our country must be bold in our witness beyond the boundaries of social acceptability. Only when we find ourselves as individuals and as a community doing these things are we truly living like the missionary body of Christ.