TRAC President the Rev Dr Gordon Wong and I have just returned from the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) Conference of The United Methodist Church, where they celebrated the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Missionary Society. In his address, Dr David W. Scott, Director of Mission Theology at GBGM, urged all to revisit the mission that God gave to the Church, and to re-examine the meaning of Church mission, which is more than creating the impression that the Church is all about showing love and helping those in need.
Indeed, the Church needs to build a variety of channels for two-way conversations, to communicate the good news that God has for the world to people from all walks of life. Such a Church mission can be demonstrated by our words and actions, such as through evangelism, discipleship, ministry, peace-making and reconciliation, seeking justice, and protecting our environment. These different aspects are to be deeply entrenched in all Christians, so as to become an inextricable part of their lives.
This is an extension of what John Wesley said was the purpose for the Church’s existence: to lead people to salvation from their sin, that they may flee from God’s wrath, find the substance of their faith, experience renewal by the Holy Spirit, receive baptism and enter into membership of the church, listen to the preaching of God’s Word, partake in the holy communion in remembering the Lord and be sent as witnesses to other communities.
Jesus said we are to be the salt of the earth. In response, John Wesley set out five practical pointers for all believers:
- Live in the world.
- Strive for Christian holy living among the community.
- Be actively engaged as stewards of God’s grace.
- Do not be easily interrupted unnecessarily, even for food consumption.
- Open up the extent of our good works: feed the hungry, clothe the naked.
When John Wesley discussed the mission of the Church, he saw a synergistic relationship between the Church and society. To be a disciple of Christ is to be God’s co-worker. This means dwelling alongside others in society, where we live out our Christian character, where we may lead others to the Kingdom of God, where Christians may show forth the glory of the Lord.
Many Christians do good works remembering what Jesus said in Matthew 25:34–40 (NIV): “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” We must remember too that Jesus also said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14). Let us not give one, water for the body, without the other, water for the soul.
In this way, the ultimate purpose of doing good unto others is so that those who personally witness such deeds may ascribe all glory to our heavenly Father God.
At Aldersgate SG 2019, we revisit this familiar theme: A Task Unfinished—Together in God’s Mission. I believe that through our speakers, Bishop Emeritus Dr Hwa Yung and Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon, it will be a heart-warming experience for all.
Don’t miss Aldersgate SG 2019!
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference from 2008 to 2016.