On Purpose

“Today, everyone wants to be missional. Can you think of a single pastor who is proudly anti-missional?” Alan Hirsch wrote these words in an article for Christianity Today. This past Sunday the sermon focused on a little-known character who seemed to embody what it means to be missional in his personal life. Titus was one of a cast of personalities mentored and employed by Paul. His leadership impacted churches on the island of Crete as well as the church in Corinth. As an emissary sent from the apostle, Titus was held in high regard for his dedication to the Gospel and his integrity as a leader.

While most often utilized in reference to the church, missional living has been described as a mindset and lifestyle that reflects the Great Commission. Certainly such a posture affects all of us as believers, but it most assuredly summons each of us as believers. Being on mission for Christ is not someone else’s responsibility or privilege; it is mine and it is yours.

Hirsch stated: “A proper understanding of missional begins with recovering a missionary understanding of God. By His very nature God is a ‘sent one’ who takes the initiative to redeem His creation.” If we are His instrument in the world as Christ envisioned, each of us is called and sent into the world He died to save. As the family of faith, we should change our language from “the church has a mission” to “the mission has a church.”

Does the mission have us? I have not met a Wieucan who has said that he or she doesn’t want to see this church reach people with the Gospel. There was a time when people would come to us, be attracted to who we were and what we were doing. We don’t’ live in that world anymore. If the message hasn’t changed, then the methods must change.

By now, I hope you have heard or read about the quarterly church conference scheduled for this Sunday after worship. The presentation by the ad hoc Structural Options committee will be an update of their work and a challenge for the members of our congregation to talk to each other about the desired future for our church. I hope you will attend. I hope you will pray. I hope you will think and dream. I hope you grasp the significance of this time in our church life to look forward and seek God’s guidance. We are providing child care so our young families can participate. We are encouraging our youth to take part.

At the end of Hirsch’s article, he wrote: “As the people of a missionary God, we ought to engage the world the same way He does – by going out rather than just reaching out. Every disciple is to be an agent of the Kingdom of God, and every disciple is to carry the mission of God into every sphere of life.” I want us to be defined more by our sending capacity than our seating capacity! Let’s join God in what He is doing in His world.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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