Missions for the Sake of Worship

Several years ago Lisa and I attended the The Gospel Coalition’s 2015 conference in Orlando. We’d taken a red eye from Salt Lake the previous evening; by the time we arrived we were looking forward to a bed more than we were a conference chair. With tired eyes, we entered the packed auditorium and managed to find a few seats near the translation booths where half a dozen interpreters were busy at work translating the message into different languages.

After the introductory remarks we stood and sang some familiar Christian hymns. I don’t think I’d ever been around so many Christians singing with such force. A few lines in, and Lisa and I were overwhelmed by the sound of this congregation gathered from around the world. Tears overtook our words, and we just listened. It was a particularly difficult time in the life of our church, and we’d both been carrying the stress of that, but those voices revived our souls. Later on we both felt as if we’d had a taste of Heaven–of that day when all God’s people from every tribe, nation, tongue, and language would gather and sing their hearts out. Psalm 150 reminds us of that coming day. It describes a cosmic choir director inviting more and more of creation to worship. It ends, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

We could describe the mission of the church as inviting people to join that vast choir. To invite more people to engage in worship until worship overtakes the world. In the end, we get to participate in a concert that covers the globe. We get–with all God’s people!–to sing to the one in whom we live and move and have our being.

For now, not everything that has breath praises the Lord. And so our job is to expand our worship, to give ourselves more and more to worship and invite others to join us. Until that day comes when Christ returns to make all things new, and the world is as it ought to be. Until that day when everything that has breath will praise the Lord.

At the end of this month we are hosting our missions dinner. Perhaps you’ve not connected worship to missions before, but hopefully you see how they are inexorably linked. As John Piper once said, “missions exists because worship doesn’t.” I’d encourage you to think about missions that way as we prepare to hear about how God is working through the various ministries we support. I’d encourage you to prayerfully consider how you can support the spread of worship around the world. I’m excited to welcome Pastor Sam Oluch as our main speaker. He will be joined by his wife Melly on her first trip to the United States. I look forward to seeing you at our missions dinner!

In Christ,

Pastor Jon

Naomi Winebrenner