God’s mission through the local church

There are three institutions on earth established by God: the home, government and the local church. The home is under attack as never before in American culture. Even the definition is being debated. The American experiment with a democratic republic is unique. Sadly, the government has become intrusive and ineffective in so many ways. Some say the church is also going down. I have news for the critics of the church. The church is going up, and it may be soon.

Earlier this month, I was privileged to hear Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, bring biblical insights in a retreat setting. He is articulate, brilliant and convictional. He has lead MBTS to adopt the vision “For the Church.” His focus on serving the local church sets the correct course for the school.

The new president of the International Mission Board, David Platt, has stated that local churches are the true senders of missionaries. Since the inception of the Southern Baptist Convention we have used a deployment system involving a board, though the missionary is called, discipled and nurtured in the local church. Churches also commission and stay in contact with their missionaries. Southern Baptist churches have chosen to work together through a sending board in order to provide the best possible support for the missionary, but it all starts with the church.

I’m in a church every week, but I must confess that I don’t attend my own church as often as I’d like. I do send my tithe and offerings through my local church. I pray for my pastor regularly. I support him and the work of the gospel through my church. Although I am not as involved in my own local church, I get to experience ministry in scores of churches every year. I am grateful that God allows me to preach in and visit other churches as my ministry. God is at work in the local church. What God is going to do, he will do it through churches.

The home was established before the church. Worship, discipleship and evangelism must be in the home. The ministries of a church can have a significant role in building stronger homes, but it is essentially strong homes that make strong churches.

Churches on mission with the gospel will influence the public square, including the government. Believers must live out their convictions in order to make our society better. This spiritual salt and light will come from the local church.

Jimmy Pritchard, president of the SBTC, has called upon us to pray for a spiritual renewal in our churches and a spiritual awakening among the lost. When the church experiences the presence of God, people who need Jesus will hear the good news. 

We owe our love and devotion to Jesus. Jesus loved the church and gave his life for her. The church is the bride of Christ. When we love Jesus, we will love the church. 

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention exists to assist churches in carrying out the Great Commission. The SBTC is a collection of churches that have pooled their resources to make a greater impact on the world with the gospel. We exist and do these things for Jesus, and For the Church!

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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