Mission creep harms the church, changes Jesus’ mandate

Mission creep is dragging down the church. A political pundit complained recently, and rightly so, to my mind, about TSA’s “mission creep.” Longman  defines the phrase as “a series of gradual changes in the aim of a group of people, with the result that they do something different from what they planned to do at the beginning.”

To put it in our language, missions (our efforts) is different from the mission of Christ. As per the definition above, the changes come gradually, subtly.

Wikipedia, which I am loathe to link to just now, rightly notes that mission creep usually represents an expansion of the group or organization’s goals or mission. More debatable, however, is the statement that such creepiness occurs after initial successes.

The church today suffers from mission creep. One might postulate that it’s happening after our initial successes in the 60s. I tend to think it’s because we are not doing the bang-up job in our mission that we should be doing.

Ask a dozen people in the church what our mission is. See how many can state it, in a sentence. (Compare it with Jesus’ statements and orders.) Then ask what they are doing specifically to fulfill that. You’ll probably get blank stares or general platitudes about living as an example.

How is mission creep occurring among us? First, from a lack of knowing what our mission is. So we need to throw back to Matthew 28:18-20. Our mission is to make disciples. A disciple is a follower. How is that done? By specific teaching. The content of teaching is the word of Christ. All of it.

Second, under the rubric of mission gets placed all manner of activities which have nothing to do with making disciples or teaching. And that harms the church by changing her into a horse of a different color. The church is not, and never can be, an NGO.

Here’s the rub: other groups can change their mission if they so desire. The church cannot. Her Lord gave her the mission. To change it, or broaden it, is to modify what the Lord has determined. Who wants to go there?

#christian-mission, #discipleship, #mission-creep, #missional