Southern Pastor: Church Mode and Mission Mode Are Indispensable for Church Development

A picture of a sloping road with trees on both sides
A picture of a sloping road with trees on both sides (photo:
By Steve Sun March 16th, 2023

One common definition of the church's mission is to worship God with all our hearts, to build a wonderful life and practice the truth of loving one another, to bear witness to the works of God, and to preach God's gospel.

A pastor from southern China named Yang Xinsheng (pseudonym) shared, "The covenant between God and Abraham consists of two parts. The first part is a blessing for Abraham himself, and the second is a blessing for all nations and states through him and his descendants. The mission is not confined to one local church but spreads the gospel to the whole world. The Great Commission that Jesus spoke of is also for all people, nations, and states. For Christians, being a part of the Great Commission means living a healthy life and keeping the Great Commandment. The growth of the individual Christian life is dependent on the feeding and support of the church."

Pastor Yang said, "The church mode we are familiar with is the development model centered on the church, which is to strengthen the church and to develop in the comfort zone. The mission mode is to develop the church based on the Great Commission of Jesus, which is to cultivate the elite soldiers of Christ and to take root in different regions of the world. They are dispersed so that the Gospel of Christ might come to all peoples, nations, and states. The model of Chinese churches is generally church mode, while the mission mode is easily ignored or discarded. It means that the pastors are centered on the development and needs of the church they're in, and almost all of their efforts and gains are directed toward building larger churches that can accommodate more people."

Three years after the pandemic, pastors began to realize the deficiencies of the past development model. They gradually realized the importance of decentralized development and the flexibility of the group model.

The church is centered around the temple for God's people to worship, praise, and hear the Word of the Lord. But the church is not just for saved Christians. It's also for those who have not heard the gospel. Therefore, the church needs to practice the mission mode at the same time and needs to send God's people to nations where the gospel is not preached. In fact, there are many wonderful guides from God in the Bible. For example, it was the slave girl who brought Naaman to God. The betrayed Joseph, the exiled Daniel and Esther, and the prophet Jonah all lived out the great mission of spreading God's name to the gentiles.

Jesus' life is a perfect example of spreading the gospel, living out the Great Commandments and the Great Commission. He healed the sick, exorcized demons, and fed the poor; he taught God's Word and called believers to be his disciples; and he even raised the dead. He also preached to Samaritan women, the people who had not heard the gospel, and promised them eternal living water.

Pastor Yang concluded, "The healthy development of the church in China requires us to follow the model of Jesus' ministry, which is to perfectly integrate the church mode and the mission mode. We should develop them in parallel. It's like having two legs at the same time. You can't have one without the other."

-Translated by Nicolas Cao

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