By David Pam McQuel
The central goal of the church is missions. Judging from the last instructions of Jesus in Acts 1:8 coupled with the corresponding activities of the Church in Jerusalem, there was an absolute accord between Jesus and His followers.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
It is imperative to note that the church in Jerusalem exploded as soon as it took off. 3000 additional members in just the first day service commenced! That is a super phenomenal growth, unequalled in history. Within a short time, the church had hit 5,000 committed members whose commitment showed in selling landed properties and giving all the proceeds for the work of the kingdom.
5,000 committed believers that’s a very strong economic block!
And yet the neither thought, planned nor tried to build a massive cathedral! They didn’t use their money to buy 100 hectares of landed property or buy off the biggest theatre in town. WHY DIDN’T THEY?
They instead, met continually from house to house in a powerful network of small cells, focusing on spiritual growth only.
The focus of the church in Jerusalem was evangelism, discipleship and missions. Our priorities have gone far from there. Today’s church wants authenticity through owning property and public recognition.
How sad!
Concurrent aspects of the church
Growth through discipleship
The primary priority of the resources of any local church should be for growing the kingdom of God. Every effort in a church should end up in winning sinners to Christ. Winning people to Christ is not just evangelism but it continues in discipling them.
There is a huge difference between making converts and making disciples. Introducing a person to Christ can happen in just a few minutes  or a long period of time but when the person accepts Christ it takes longer period to convert him to a committed follower of Jesus.
 Let me give this simple example. It takes nine months of gestation for a woman to bring forth a new human being, but the process of really making that new born an independent human being takes decades.
Any new convert to Christ who is not turned into a disciple may either fall back into the world or grow up grotesquely. To avoid this, the apostles Paul and Peter addressed  this issue sternly.
In 1Peter 2, , Peter emphasized this subject saying, 1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Baby’s milk which runs naturally from the mum is pure and unadulterated. It is the purest form of food as long as the lactating mum is healthy or not a drug abuser or alcoholic. Likewise, when we bring someone to Christ we must introduce them to the pure word of God.
Sometimes, the local church is more concerned about membership and denominational identity rather than kingdom identity. Therefore, instead of growing the faith of the new convert into Christ, they concentrate on indoctrination into their petty doctrines. The goal is to make him bear the denominational mark. The convert grows and looks like the Church but not like Christ.
At the end of a simple discussion of five minutes you will find out that he is up his sleeves defending the “my church syndrome.” 
Paul a believer wrote the Hebrews, said 6:1 “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.”
By elementary, Paul meant those are the foundational teachings, doctrines and ways of kingdom living that a new convert to Christ should master and practice.
Building the saints to maturity
In building capacity for growth and training of workers and support ministry, the church through the 5 fold ministry is built to maturity.
While a church grows in number, it should be growing spiritually. The goal of a church should never be large membership. It should be maturity for missions.
We see that in the ministry of Jesus our Lord. The essence of grooming His disciples and followers was no other reason than to grow them, equip them and mature them for missions.
The primary labour and activities in the local church is not the building projects, the social programmes, the group special days or the leadership tussles. It is the growing of the saints.
In Ephesians 4, Paul by the Spirit wrote 11 “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
The goal here we see is “…to be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature!” That’s were the effort of the local church should be. That’s where the emphasis of vision and our diligence of leadership and commitment should stress.
Then the local church will “…attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Otherwise, we will build an unhealthy Church. We will have a big church, well polished edifices, yet the people inside are no different from the unbelievers out there. Then, members of the church will be buried in conflicts, individual battles for the protection of personal ego and self-importance and class.
Maturity of believers is the focus of the local church.
Welfare of the weak and poor
Throughout the Bible, from the First Testament to the New Testament, compassion towards the needy is God’s desire and instructions. In fact, in Proverbs Solomon wrote, 17:1 “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.”
There are 4 people God warned the Israelites about against either abandonment or molestation:
1. The poor who are less fortunate in life.
2. The orphan who has lost either father or both parents.
3. The widow who has lost her husbands and is emotionally, psychologically and economically disadvantaged,
4. The stranger, who could be on transit or an immigrant who is not a criminal but genuinely fleeing hardship and violence looking for peace and happiness.
These groups of people were to be welcomed, cared for and supported until they can stand on their own.
Samaria and ends of the earth focus
Every local church should be labouring in their neighborhood, showing kindness and the goodness of Christ to all in goal of winning the lost. That is the first line of effectiveness. If a local church is not doing this, then, she hasn’t began living her purpose yet in its very nursery stage.
For a church that has been effective in her neighborhood, she has to step forward and begin to engage the world. Jesus in His last instructions said they will go on to be witness from Jerusalem to Judea, from Judea to reach Samaria and then the ends of the earth.
Some churches don’t get involved if their effort will not benefit their “own” church directly. This is not what Christ said.
Therefore, every local church should send out both human and financial resources to foreign lands and nations where only Christ benefits.
If every local church in the world was involved with foreign missions, the world would have been completely evangelized.
God bless you.

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