The Missional Church

MISSIOLOGICAL INSIGHTS

Rev. Aftab Yunis Hakim

"The Church is the Church only when it exists for others...not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.”

                                                                                                     (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison)

Does the Church exist for others? This is the most crucial question today. What are the challenges of the Church today? In the New Testament, we see a problem with a man who came to Jesus and asked Him what should I do to have eternal life. Jesus’ words were very clear to him, leave your self-protected comfort zone and follow me, but he did not agree with Jesus’ statement because his focus was more on ‘Me’—his own comfort, rather than Christ-centeredness (Luke 18:22). Although this man was living a righteous life in his own eyes, with very clear sets goals for his life. But, Jesus’ call to leave everything and trust Him by giving all his treasures to the poor, made him worried. Because he was comfortable serving the two lords and did not want to leave his self-centered community. This passage helps us to reflect on the Church situation today, sadly our churches have adopted an organizational structure wherein people come and leave knowing and doing what they think is best for them. While the Church being an organism has lost its importance being an existing reality for others. The existence of the Church is helping and serving, but unfortunately, the priorities are changed.

The drastic challenges today in our communities provide us with a unique opportunity to become a community that continuously trusts God. Amidst every trouble, in our personal and communal lives, the Lord invites us to serve Him, leaving our self-comfort zones to move towards God-trusting relationships where the whole community of believers continuously seek and experience the Lord in every single moment amidst every major and minor difficulty. This praxis of the church in any context is only possible "when the Church exists for others". To put this another way, the existing body of Christ serves people from every aspect spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. For instance, those who are dying of poverty and have limited economic resources.

This is so common in our communities that people become irritated over minor issues and miss out on opportunities to encounter God. Few people stop listening to God and use their own resources to get help during difficult times, and unfortunately, instead of trusting God, they begin to believe in their own agendas. Nonetheless, the emphasis of God’s people is always being waiting, and trusting in the Lord's promises rather than trusting in themselves. They believe in God’s protection, which leads and guards them in every step even rescues them from their enemies.

The missional church everywhere is called to demonstrate God's reign. The Communal Church, which exists for others always put her trust in the Lord.  Also, the communal Church, fully immersed in God's word recognizes that Satan is the one who consistently places people in stressful and frightening circumstances to wear them out. Nevertheless, amidst every trouble, it is important to remember that our battles become the Lord's battle when we make God the center of it. As a result, when the Communal Church faces such challenges, this Christ-centered community asserts that the battle is not theirs, but rather it belongs to the Lord. 

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