Category Archives: Mission

Prayer for Official Launch

Below is the corporate element from Sunday’s service. Our hope is that this can guide our prayers as we prepare for the Official Launch in September.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of the darkness”, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:4-6

[Pray that God would shine the light of the gospel among the people of Little Rock, and pray that we would be faithful servants in this work – proclaiming not ourselves, but Christ.]

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison – that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Colossians 4:3-4

[Pray that God would open doors for us to speak the gospel, and pray that we would proclaim the gospel clearly in those opportunities.]

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

[Pray that God would be at work in our church body, uniting us together in love. Pray that the fruit of the Spirit would be abundantly evident among us, so that our lives together would commend the gospel.]

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

[Pray that God would give us a heart to make disciples of all nations, both here in Little Rock and around the world. Pray that we would be encouraged by Jesus’ promise to be with us in this work.]

Our Mission (Part 3)

This is the final article in our series on the Mission statement of MBC. Be sure to check out part 1 here and part 2 here.

Proclaim

As we treasure God in Christ and build up one another in the faith, we will not be able to help ourselves from proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.  The Christian’s walk with Christ sets the stage for explaining the gospel to unbelievers.  By God’s grace, would it be true of us that we are like Peter and John who said, “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).”

So before we get too far, let me attempt to address one question that we have been asked a lot, “How are you going to do evangelism at MBC? Will you be directly proclaiming the gospel or will your evangelism be more responsive based on the interactions you have with people around you?” 

Dick Lucas explains this very clearly in his comments on Colossians 4. He says,

We may describe this difference by saying that while the apostle Paul looks for many opportunities for direct evangelism and teaching, the typical Christian in Colossae is to look for many opportunities for responsive evangelism.

Direct evangelism is what we purposefully do.  This could include door-to-door evangelism, handing out tracts at Riverfest or home visitation. But responsive evangelism implies that the Christian lives as a believer in whatever setting the Lord has placed him with an intent to answer the unbeliever’s questions about Jesus Christ.  The distinctiveness of a holy life warrants discussion regarding the faith.

Jeff and I have been calling this “Gospel Intentionality.”  In other words, we want to be praying for and seeking to share the gospel with our neighbors, co-workers, the gas station attendant, the check out person at Kroger or Shipley’s donuts. We want to be intentional about learning their names and asking them questions about themselves, while being sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, all along the way praying that God would open doors for the Word to go forward in dead hearts. And I believe that this is a prayer the Lord delights to answer. 

So what Dick Lucas is saying and what we are talking about in regards to “Gospel Intentionality” is essentially Colossians 4:2-6. So let’s turn to Colossians 4:2-6.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

In summary, our desire is that we would be a people that proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth and through that proclamation God would draw worshippers to himself so that he would receive glory.

This is the mission of Midtown Baptist Church:

By God’s grace, we pursue this vision together by treasuring God’s glory in Christ, building one another up in the faith, and proclaiming his gospel among all peoples.

Our Mission (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of three articles on our Mission statement. Be sure to check out part 1 here.

Build 

We have now established that our mission statement begins with treasuring Jesus. We cannot do anything, including build and proclaim until we treasure him.  Once we treasure God in Christ, we will seek to honor and obey him in our lives.  In so doing God is glorified. 

Colossians is laid out the same way, treasuring comes before building and proclaiming.  Paul begins with rich Christ-centered theology focused on the person and work of Jesus, then he applies that rich theology to Christian living.  In light of the truth that we are united to Christ, Paul shows us how we ought to live.  Essentially, he is saying, “You are in Christ.  Now be who you are.”

This was the aim of Paul’s life and ministry, to help others be who they are in Christ, or as he writes in Colossians 1:28 to present everyone mature in Christ. This is what we mean when we say MBC is committed to building up one another in the faith. 

Look with me at Colossians 1:28:

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

First, notice the placement of the pronoun him at the front of this verse.  The ESV has captured the original Greek well. In Greek, the pronoun is placed at the front of the sentence for the purpose of emphasis. Paul is emphatically saying to us that we don’t need more self-help books or boosted self-esteem or psychology or even a deeper understanding of the prophecy of Revelation, we need Jesus Christ.  We need him proclaimed into our lives.  At the heart of growth is the proclamation of Jesus, the Word.  Believers and unbelievers alike need Jesus.  As believers, we don’t just need Jesus at the moment of initial conversion, but we must continue to walk in him for our lifetime. Colossians 2:6 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”  He is our only hope and help for faithful living in this life.

And we are able to live these faithful lives because chapter 2 is true.  Chapter 2 places a significant emphasis on the work of Jesus Christ and our union with Him.  If we are found in Him, what is true of Him is true of us. We who were once dead in our trespasses, God made alive together with Christ. We who were once slaves to sin are now slaves to righteousness.

Second, notice how Paul was committed to present everyone mature in Christ by warning and teaching. Warning has the sense of correcting through instruction and caution by bringing the truth of God’s Word to bear in the situation. Teaching is an ongoing systematic instruction in the doctrines of the Christian faith.  Chapter 3 gives us a wonderful picture of how the truths of God’s Word are to be lived out practically as we grow into the image of Christ.  Based on their death and resurrection with Christ and hope of future life with Him, Paul encourages the Colossians to continue eliminating sinful behaviors from their lives and cultivate Christian virtue.

In addition, it is very important to note that chapter 3 is not lived out in a vacuum but in community. Paul’s use of “body” talk and “one another” statements is showing that the Christian life is to be lived out not in the privacy of your own home but in a community of believers, called the local church.

Third, Paul’s purpose in proclaiming Christ, teaching, and warning is to present everyone mature in Christ.  Just like Paul, it is disciple-making, not just convert-making that we are to be about at MBC.  This is Great Commission work:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).

Jeff and I will be held accountable on the final day for our faithfulness in presenting everyone mature in Christ.  But we all have responsibility to be engaged in the lives of one another.  We should be bringing the Word to bear in each other’s lives. Colossians 3:16 says,

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

In light of the fact that Jesus is our greatest treasure, we should expend our energies as believers to help our brothers and sisters in Christ see him as their greatest treasure as well and to build them up in their faith in him. This happens through bringing the Word to bear in each other’s lives individually and through the preaching of the Word corporately

Our Mission (Part 1)

A few weeks ago, Daniel taught through our Mission statement. We’re posting the content from Daniel’s message as a series of three articles.

This week we will talk about the mission of Midtown Baptist Church.  The mission is how we seek, by God’s grace, to reach the vision.  The mission of MBC is: 

By God’s grace, we pursue this vision together by treasuring God’s glory in Christ, building one another up in the faith, and proclaiming his gospel among all peoples.

 The majority of this talk will focus on three words from that statement:  Treasure, Build, Proclaim

Before we begin, we don’t want to lose sight of the very important words at the beginning of this mission statement.  This mission is by God’s grace.  We are desperately dependent on Him.  We are graciously saved by Him.  We are graciously sanctified by Him.  And one day we will be graciously glorified by Him.

 We believe that the mission for Midtown Baptist Church flows from the pages of the book of Colossians.  In this letter Paul is combating a teaching in Colossae that questions whether Christ is sufficient. This teaching was saying that you started with Christ, but there was a way to go deeper in the faith, essentially saying that Christ wasn’t enough. Paul was writing to show that Christ was, and still is, all we need. At MBC if we know who it is that we love and serve, we will find that we don’t have to go anywhere else other than Christ to find all the resources necessary for Christian growth and grace.

Treasure

As we unpack the mission statement we need to understand first that by God’s grace we are committed to treasuring God’s glory in Christ.  Essentially what we mean by treasure is worship.  Worship is ascribing the worth due to someone or something.  In our case, we are saying that the triune God alone is worthy of our heart’s devotion in worship.  Colossians 1:15-20 is where we see a glorious exaltation of God in Christ. This is who we worship.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For byhim all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

In the context, Paul is showing that Christ is sufficient for the Colossians (and for you and me) because he is supreme.  There are four things to note about his supremacy in this passage:

  1.  Jesus is Lord of Creation (vs.15-17)
  2. Jesus is the Head of the Church (vs. 18)
  3. Jesus is Fullness (vs. 19)
  4. Jesus is the Reconciler (vs. 20)

Sin destroyed the relationship between creatures and the Creator, but Christ, the God-man, restores that fellowship through his death on the cross. We will never see God as our greatest treasure unless he opens our eyes and awakens our dead hearts to beat again.

Then we will turn from our sins and place our trust in Christ alone and have his work on the cross credited to our accounts.

God is glorified when we see him for who he is.  He is glorified when we have a majestic view of him.  He is glorified when we are left in wonder, awe, and amazement at his holiness. When we see God for who he is, we see ourselves for who we really are – small, broken, and frail. This is our foundation. We cannot do anything else as a church until we treasure him and see him for who he really is—our gracious and glorious Redeemer.