At BCC, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is our heartbeat because that's the mission Jesus gave the church. Pure and simple. We try to shape all we do around reaching out to the lost community around us, sharing the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, building up believers as faithful followers of Christ and then being globally engaged in sending and supporting Gospel-Centered work around the world.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with this question: What is the chief end of man? The answer given is: To glorify God and enjoy him forever. At BCC, we believe that. We long the for people of Clare County to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
The problem is that many do not yet have a saving relationship with the God of the Bible. They cannot yet glorify him nor do they enjoy him. Our desire is to fulfill the Great Commission call to "make disciples" (Matthew 18:19) right in our back yard.
However, we believe that it is our job to go to the world, not to wait for them to come to us or to somehow make our Sunday worship gathering flashy enough that we win folks over with good donuts and a rockin' band (although we do have a great worship team and some tasty snacks). We do not want a lost world to be enamored with anything other than Jesus. That is why we seek to equip our people to share their faith in everyday life. To look for inroads in relationships and conversations in order to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Beyond that, it is our desire to look for paths to reach those we wouldn't necessarily rub shoulders with -- those who are different than us. The kind of people that Jesus sought out.
We long to reach our community for Christ.
What we're talking about when we say "build" is the part of the Great Commission which says "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (v. 20).
We believe that means teaching and preaching the Word of God. The Word of God permeates all that goes on at BCC. It is preached Sunday mornings. It is taught to our children and teens. It is discussed and prayed over in homes. It is the centerpiece of personal, spiritual disciplines. We believe and practice 2 Timothy 3:16:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (ESV).
The thing we're coming to understand is that this process of following Jesus (discipleship) can't happen without the church. We need one another to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. We need deep relationships so that we can sharpen and teach one another. That's why we encourage all our people to be in community with other believers outside our Sunday gathering.
This takes place in homes, at a coffee shop, over the phone, gathering for meals, at the church building during the week . . . it takes many shapes and forms and happens at various times and places. But it boils down to doing life in community in Gospel-centered ways.
We long to see our people built up in Christ.
John Piper once said: "Missions exists because worship doesn't." Sending our people out into the world is a crucial part of what we do. It's the "make disciples of all nations" part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). But missions is not an end in and of itself. The goal is to point the lost to the God who loves them and has given his Son for their redemption so that one more voice may be added to the great chorus of worshippers at the end of the age (Revelation 7:9-10).
While we want to begin by proclaiming the Gospel here in our community, we are only being partially obedient of what we share Jesus with Michigan. The mandate to take Jesus to the nations means supporting and sending ministers to Gospel-needy places.
While there is much work to be done and many great ministries to support, our primary focus in cross-cultural missions is the unreached. We long with Paul to take the Gospel where "Christ has not been named" (Romans 15:18-21). Our heartbeat is to partner with those working in the "10/40 Window" as we seek to make disciples in the world's darkest places.
We long to be a church that sends.