Mission Versus Sanctification

In a comment on the article Word, Spirit, Gospel and Mission (Part 8), Joe pointed out that in UBF we rarely preach about sanctification. In Reformed theology, sanctification is an essential part of the process of salvation; it follows justification and precedes the glorification of the saints. Instead of talking about sanctification, we tend to focus on mission. We present mission as the purpose of our salvation and the defining feature of our lives in the world.

I found that statement pretty interesting, and I have been personally wrestling with this issue for some time. Although many things have already been said in articles and comments on this website, I decide to write a piece about the relationship between mission and sanctification, in order to clarify these things in my own mind.

Mission has been our context for understanding the will of God in the world around us, especially with regard to preaching the gospel, raising disciples and planting new churches. Our understanding of mission is expressed fairly well in how we select passage for our conferences. First we call sinners to repentance through passages about the Samaritan woman, the paralyzed man, and the tax collectors Levi and Zacchaeus. Then we preach on the crucifixion of Jesus and sometimes the resurrection of Jesus. Then we inevitably turn to the Great Commission and passages that speak about our mission as we understand it. But we don’t say much about growing in holiness or walking in Spirit. Thus it is understood that the mission of preaching the gospel and raising disciples becomes the basic purpose and responsibility of our lives.

The mission, understood as I described it above, is truly a great purpose. It is almost a comprehensive motivator for the Christian life. The goal is preaching the gospel around the world and the subjugation of all peoples to faith. There are always people to whom the Gospel has not preached, someone who has not yet received an invitation to discipleship. This desire to reach new people and raise new disciple does provide us with a dynamic life.

The person who truly accepts this sequence — repentance, gospel faith and mission — can no longer see his life apart from this mission. The mission defines his ministry and determines how he treats the people around him, especially if he becomes a leader at any level. With this orientation, life outside of this mission seems pointless and flawed. If we consistently follow this thinking to its logical conclusion, then every part of life which is not dedicated to advancing this mission appears to be waste of time, and all aspects of life should be fully devoted to this mission. For example, the family becomes a house church for the raising disciples. Work becomes a means of self-support for the purpose of raising disciples.

Although we rarely talk about sanctification, we do have a similar notion as we promote continual repentance and spiritual growth. We do struggle against sins of lust, materialism, selfishness, and other things. But this repentance is usually aimed at leaving something that keeps us from carrying out our mission. To repent of selfishness and laziness means to preach more diligently and make more disciples. This kind of spiritual growth leads to greater degree of preparedness and dedication for of the mission (e.g., becoming a better Bible teacher). Our repentance and spiritual growth are designed to serve the mission and thus are secondary to the mission.

Sometimes we do reveal a deeper understanding of spiritual growth. We do want to know God and be more like Him. However, we rarely consider or discuss these apart from the mission. Mission, it is said, is the context in which we come to know God personally and grow in the image of Christ. And participating in the mission is seen as the outward evidence and fruit of knowing. Therefore, our spiritual practices such as prayer, Bible study and church activities are concentrated around the mission and not much else.

Now let’s think about sanctification. What is sanctification’s biblical meaning and value? Perhaps there is a more precise definition, but here I will define sanctification as an increase in holiness. It is to experience gradual emancipation from the domination of the sinful nature remaining in the Christian life, and to progress in accordance with the spiritual nature acquired by new birth.

In Reformed theology, the process of sanctification occupies the entire period between justification (new birth) and glorification of the saint (physical death and resurrection). Sanctification continues throughout the earthly Christian life, and it is easy to understand why this is so. The commandment that we have been given is no less than “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The depravity of the human being is deep and thorough, whereas the holiness of God’s is infinitely high and wide. The goal of being released from sin and bringing your life into conformity with the holiness of God is so voluminous and ambitious that even if we were to live a thousand years, that would not be enough time to complete it, even though it would move us closer to the goal.

Who can say, “I’m holy enough?” Who can say, “I know God quite well and now am close to Him?” Who among the saints has no craving and necessity to be sanctified more? The Apostle Peter wrote, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1Pe 1:15, NIV). Sanctification is a process that touches every single aspect of human life. If we are in Christ, then sanctification should be happening through and through. We are being sanctified in our thoughts. We are being sanctified in all our dealings with all people near and far, with believers and nonbelievers. We are being sanctified in the workplace, at home, in the church, and everywhere in between. We are being sanctified when we eat and drink, sanctified when we read books, sanctified when we are using the internet.

The process of sanctification requires constant spiritual warfare. If we are serious about our sanctification, then we find a considerable need for prayer, studying God’s word, learning from the Christian experience, communication with other believers, consultation with elders, reading books, and so on.

Sanctification is warfare, but it is also a sweet process of knowing God, being transformed into his image and displaying his glory to world. It is the process that the Holy Spirit is continually doing in us. The process is monumental. It fills the whole duration of life and gives meaning and beauty to all its spheres. Sanctification is sufficient to guide us and provide dynamic development for the individual, the church and society.

Can sanctification be regarded as secondary or subordinate to mission? In my opinion, the answer is no. Sanctification is the direct will of God. It has intrinsic value in itself. God called Israel to be a holy people in the land to which he was leading them. He gave him the law as a standard of holiness. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which is often called “the constitution of the kingdom of heaven,” is all about holiness. In 1 Peter 2:9, the apostle called all Christians to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, to proclaim God’s perfection through their words and their lives. And then, in the remainder of 1 Peter, he shows us what that entails: to be holy in every respect, to follow the nature of Christ, to learn to live a holy lives in society, the workplace, family and church. Sanctification is found in so many places throughout the Bible.

No, I do not think that sanctification may be subordinated to mission. But the two are related. Sanctification contributes to the execution of the mission, and it is also produced through participation in the mission. It seems to me that mission must be subject to sanctification. As I mentioned above, Peter wanted the recipients of his letter to be holy in all respects – not to simply avoid sin, but to actively grow in holiness. And Peter is the first one to whom Jesus entrusted his mission. He is the one to whom Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” When Jesus gave Peter and the other apostles the Great Commission, he said, “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). The Apostle Paul described his mission thusly: “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Col 1:28). The sanctification of all people is an integral purpose of the mission.

Mission and sanctification are closely related, but they are not interchangeable. To make sanctification subordinate to mission will inevitably distort both of them.

According to the Great Commission, the mission of the apostles was to preach the gospel and raise disciples. If we understand the task purely in terms of replication – making disciples just for the sake of getting them to preach the gospel and make more disciples, who will then continue to preach and make disciples and so on, until the coming of Christ – then what has become of Christianity? Everything gets reduced to having a saving faith in Christ and living a lifestyle most conducive to continuing this cycle.

Can all of Christianity be reduced to these two steps of having saving faith in Christ and then adopting a mission-centered lifestyle? Or is there something more fundamental that God wants to accomplish in us? Preaching the gospel and making disciples is an outward manifestation of our faith. But these are not effective or pleasing to God apart from the inner reality of holiness. It is the inner fruit that prepares, enables and equips us for the mission.

To clarify what I am trying to say, consider these two alternatives. Do I grow spiritually in order to make disciples? Or do I make disciples in order to grow spiritually? To ask these questions reveals a misunderstanding. Being a disciple or growing as a disciple is no different from spiritual growth. Whether we say, “Grow as disciple to make disciples” or “Make disciples to grow as disciple,” in the end it’s the same thing. Whether we say, “Be a Christian to make Christians” or “Make Christians in order to grow as a Christian,” this definition of the Christian life becomes empty. It becomes a vicious cycle, devoid of content. All that remains is wandering in the darkness and lead others into the same darkness.

It is only when we restore sanctification to its proper place that everything begins to make sense. After justification, we must follow Christ and learn to live a Christian life. Christian character and values have their own intrinsic worth apart from mission. God conforms us to these values through the process of sanctification and then we pass these values on to others. Jesus’ words “Go and make disciples” should not be construed as “Making others capable of performing the same mission.” Rather, it is as Jesus said,” Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” to restore them to completeness.

If we fail to give due attention to sanctification, then our faith becomes shallow and insipid. Moreover, the mission that we are trying to carry out loses its fundamental meaning and purpose. Focusing too heavily on the mission eventually begins to harm the mission. Evangelism and discipleship become less meaningful and reminiscent of network marketing.

I will conclude with a personal testimony to explain how these reflections grew out of my experience. For several years I was a fellowship leader, serving a student mission on campus. We regularly visited the campus, prayed, shouted slogans, sang songs, went into the dorms, preached the gospel and invited students. We were very active. This life was interesting, dynamic and sensational. There was always room to go out and preach more. There were long lists of potential sheep for whom we should pray. There were those who came and we prayed for them to change and grow. We were always inviting someone, somewhere. Overall it was a fun time, and I thank God for it.

Later, however, I became the leader of a ministry in a village where our church was located, and I served there until it left one year ago to pioneer in another place. Many interesting things happened, but I will make just one observation. In the village, a lot of people came to us. They were not like university students. They were men and women with various problems, dependencies and sinful habits. We proclaimed to them salvation in Jesus, but it was obvious that we could not make them conform to our mission plan. We couldn’t just tell them to write a testimony, repent and go out to preach and make disciples. Although it was clearly impossible to do that, I struggled to come up with a plan that was different and more suitable to them. I did not know how to organize a living and dynamic ministry that was not based on an ethic of constant missionary expansion. I even began to think that without a strong focus on evangelism and sending of missionaries, we could not be a church or educate anyone or help anyone. The problem was my poor understanding of Christianity. I did not know how to show people that, when we surrender to Christ, the conversion works in all spheres of our present lives. I did not realize the importance of sanctification in my own life or its relationship to mission, and I could not teach it in to the people who came to us. They needed to be instructed in sanctification, and mission could not fill that role.


  1. Thank you so much, David, for biblically debunking our overemphasis on mission, which can cause us to become “shallow and insipid,” and to lose our focus on the beauty and centrality of the gospel, the cross (1 Cor 1:17-18,23; 2:2).

    Though the intent, focus and emphasis on mission is surely good and noble, yet it perhaps inclines us toward becoming one-dimentional, work-based, performance-oriented, business-minded, legalistic, compartmentalized Christians, I think. It is, as Henoch had posted before, that we may have “idolized mission”: http://www.ubfriends.org/2010/09/idolizing-mission/

    Anything that we idolize makes us ugly, angry, defensive, offensive, depressed, self-righteous, close-minded, etc, especially when we feel that the idol is being threatened. Only Jesus, and being progressively sactified in Him, makes us beautiful (Ps 27:4; Isa 33:17).

    • david bychkov

      Thanks for always kind words, Dr. Ben. I didn’t really want here to say anything agains mission. How you said strong attitude toward mission often is noble and good. And really ap. Paul lived   a very mission-oriented life. As I read Hudson Taylor also lived very mission-oriented life. Before leaving for China he did everything with thought about future mission in China. And that was cool and God pleasing. I believe the mission-centered life style of our ancestors in UBF was also noble and God’s pleasing, inspite of possible extremes or mistakes (I don’t really know). I just afraid that while we are running relay race, we could loose baton, we could loose meaning and goal of mission which is outside not inside of mission.

  2. James Kim

    Well said, David, about this important subject. As you said, sanctification is a lifelong process until we die. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are to grow to become more and more like Jesus. 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation”. 1:15,16 say, “But just as he who called you is holy in all you do: for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” Jesus is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. Grace is given freely to all of us. I see Christian mission is to share with other fellow beggars (spiritual) the good news where they can get their hungry stomach filled. It is out of pure joy to share this good news, and we do not get credit for that. St. Francis said something like this, “Preach the gospel with your life, if necessary use words.”

    • david bychkov

      Thanks Dr. James. I like your definition of mission “to share with other fellow beggars (spiritual) the good news where they can get their hungry stomach filled”. This is really right. Problem arises when we think of us   like of totally completed. And then we don’t know how really to show and to encourage others to crave for filling hungry stomach. Just when we do it every day ourselves, as you mentioned.

  3. Abraham Nial
    Abraham Nial

    Thanks David for writing on this important subject of sanctification versus mission. I often stumbled before these passages that talk about salvation, like: “who has saved us…” (2 Ti 1:9); “… continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” (Php 2:12); and “… our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Rom 13:11) Frankly, no one among those I interacted in UBF had any idea either why salvation is described in past, present and future tense. During conferences I mostly used to deliver messages on crucifixion, including one from John’s gospel, “It is finished.” Quite frankly, many speakers including myself used a typical phrase, “our salvation is 100% done,” but without properly understanding what really was done at the cross of Jesus, we can give a very superficial or even incorrect representation of the gospel. That leads to the illusion that after the initial salvation experience (forgiveness of sin and new birth), everything that remains is mission. 1) If one is serving mission, he is godly, if not, ungodly. 2) In testimonies, the only thing to be praised or repented is living an active mission or not. Especially if you are leader, mention of moral sins in your own life is to be avoided because that might set a bad example for the juniors. 3) But more importantly, even if you adopt wrong means in your plans and actions, they are not to be taken seriously, because the motif was to advance mission. When we take such a view, scriptures like Php 2:12 and Rom 13:11 make no sense at all.

    Last year I was challenged by a book Four Fold Salvation by Arthur W. Pink. He talks about the four stages of our salvation: salvation from the pleasures of sin, salvation from the penalty of sin, salvation from the power of sin, and salvation from the presence of sin. At the new birth we are saved from the pleasures of sin. Through the cross of Jesus we are saved from the penalty of sin (justification). Through the sanctifying work of the Spirit we are saved from the power of sin and at the second coming, receiving our glorious incorruptible resurrected body we are saved from the presence of sin. The work of word of God and the Holy Spirit in our sanctification is undeniable.

    I like Dr James H. Kim’s quotation of 1Pe 2:2. But I want to add that craving (truth seeker’s attitude and Bible meditation etc) is good, however what is needed is to find and/or supply the “pure” and “spiritual” milk. Often what we think “pure” and “spiritual” can be questionable. I say this because we all are the victims of our presuppositions. In any case, I can see the hunger for purity in the milk among those who contribute on this site and I pray that God may sanctify us to be His prepared Bride.

    • david bychkov

      Thanks for thoughtful comment, Abraham. I read lately in John Stott’s book about a principle, I forgot how it really called, something like “already” and “going on”. We already have everything what we need in Christ cross, though it is so deep, that our understanding of it is going on through all our life and all generations and we learn more and more about it. So we will not find other truth (outside from cross) but we could find more and more wonderful truths inside Jesus cross. We already have Holy Spirit inside us but it’s work is going on. We already have Scripture and it completed but our understanding of it is going on (as Joe many time mentioned). So having such atittude makes our life really exciting.
      And that was what I tried to talk of – if we could not find this exciting life in our Christian life, we couldn’t work out our mission.

  4. Samantha

    Thanks David. I have really enjoyed all of the recent articles posted on UBFriends. I just wanted to add how much I appreciate the struggle between mission and sanctification. In the past, when I lived in a large, thriving UBF ministry, everything was about mission. As you mentioned David, it was a great time of seeing God’s work–in me and in others. Intrinsic in that lifestyle, I found that I proudly looked down on other “so-called” Christians because to my eyes, they had no ‘mission’. (I think this might be a common problem among UBF shepherds, or maybe it’s just me.)
    However, when I moved to a new city and my family became a house church ministry, I had no idea how to fulfill my mission without the infrastructure of our church community. With a husband who works countless hours, three kids and no practical support, mission and raising disciples as I had been accustomed became very difficult. I tried in the beginning, but I had no spiritual strength to succeed. I began to spend more time in ‘civilian affairs.’ Eventually, I became overcome with guilt because I was not ‘engaging sufficiently’ in God’s mission. I felt I was becoming one of the ‘so-called’ Christians I looked down on because I lacked ‘mission.’

    However, I realize that God has used these recent years to teach me new things. He loves me. Jesus died for me.   He saved me by grace alone, through faith alone. Nothing I do can alter those facts. No amount of mission can change my status before Him. Guilt is gone! Furthermore, I believe that God is growing me in holiness, i.e. being sanctified in new ways…with my husband, children, neighbors, friends, fellow Christians, non-Christians–none of whom are my potential sheep, disciples, etc. They are simply the people I interact with on a daily basis. In some ways, I have found this process much more difficult. When I sat across a table as the ‘shepherd’ having fully prepared my answers to Bible study questions, I felt confident, ‘knowing’ all the answers.   But, in daily interactions, with all kinds of people, I often have no idea how to help, or even what to say. I find that I make many mistakes and misrepresent Jesus many times. In the past, I felt confident, now, I have no confidence in myself at all! I only can throw myself on God’s mercy again and again. [Of course, I am still incredibly proud, but I can see how God is working in me more and more to root it out each and every day. ]

    I like one way a pastor describes justification/sanctification: He often says, I am positionally saved, (meaning Christ’s work on the cross is complete) however, there is a gap between who I am at this moment, and who God’s wants me to be. The process of sanctification helps to narrow that gap. (I am sure I didn’t say this very well, I hope you get the point.)
    Thanks again for your writing…I am always encouraged by what I read here!

    • david bychkov

      Thank you very much for your wonderful comment, your encouragement and sharing your experience. Once I come out as a pioneer, I became to experience the same things which you mentioned. May be not became to experience, but became to realize and reflect on them. I really found that for me it is more and more difficult to live good, biblical, influenced, humble and holy life in usual circumstances, between the people which are outside from the church, and inside my own family then to live just mission-centered shepherd life inside church. B/c of my free work I was something like intern-shepherd during last few years and I almost always was in church, or in campus. Once I rebuked my sheep that he didn’t really love church. But he then rebuked me that I was just sitting in the church like a Pharisee and didn’t really know what is outside in the world, and how difficult to live there. And more I think of mission meaning then more I come up to the conclusion that it couldn’t be really different from knowing how to be Christian and how to live in the world as a Christian. To know this and then to encourage others to do the same.

  5. Hi,
    First of all, I’m sorry about writing name-less, and of the tone and proof-less-ness of my writing. I’m a young man. I know that experience is very important in obtaining wisdom and point of views, yet being a talkative person, I couldn’t keep quiet.

    Regarding posts alike “May God Make America a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation!” and the comments written by Joe under that post, I’m wondering the effectiveness of ‘proclaiming’ (via untold authority via tone of voice, level of writing, and the length) personal complains and a single perspective (may not be) into this ambient space where anyone could have access into. If this blog is about ubf, and most of the contributors and readers are ingroups, or at least associated/was associated with UBF, and yet being unofficial, how are the complains – that are mostly about the leadership (and leaders) and the overall approach of the ministry – manifested into something valuable? My question is not about the contents, but the frame.

    It seems much easier to “get real,” or vulnerable, perhaps that is because this form of communication provides much less interpersonal exchanges. (And that is a part of reason I can write in this length and gutsy as well. If it were to be a real physical place of discussion, it’d be different.) This might be good for talking about the contents in depth, but it seems the approach varies in a big range among the contributors, and the attitude and the overall mood of the conversations of course are affected by them. After all, influencing the image/brand of UBF, although unofficial. I understand this blog is for anyone and by anyone, but it is about already existing, for fifty years, form of organization. I’m not sure where the line of censorship should be. That is because this blog (the contents) may be valuable for underdog ubfers, but for those who may be new to UBF or even church/Christianity, may not be so. A lot of bashing and behind the talks should be carefully considered and maybe direct and personal. Yes this is an open space, but a virtual one, where, to some, many leaders, is of non-existence.
    Also, there can’t be non-group tendency in any group; same for this site – number of commenters seem to belong in a category of certain character. In other words, it attracts certain groups of people. (sorry im not a sociologist…)
    Because of these things, and also (this site encourages younger groups of ppl) perhaps serious matters that need delicate touches upon might not need to be discussed on this ambient virtual space.
    “medium is the message.” -some human
    Sorry for the lousy comment. I should have kept quiet…but being a big head freshman with a keyboard and a mouse in front, it is so easy to put myself in a critique place.

  6. Hi Name, If I understand your question and concern, it seems like you are asking what the benefit of this website is since it does not have official UBF  sanction and also that newcomers might get the wrong ideas from complaints on here. Two quick thoughts about that:

    1) Even though at the bottom of this page there is a blurb that says, “This website has no official connection to University Bible Fellowship,” that does not mean that official UBF members and leaders aren’t participating and listening to the legitimate issues that are addressed here. If  the issues raised  were simply a matter of a few minor peccadillos I would agree that a blog like this would not be needed. However, alot of the topics raised here have to do with foundational issues in the Christian life (some of which, unfortunately,  have been very problematic at UBF). Thus it is absolutely necessary to have a safe place where people can discuss UBF issues without worrying about castigation from leaders. I  sincerely hope that with God’s help,  this site may even serve as a tool of reform for the ministry!

    2) Your concern for young members   or new Christians is probably a valid one. Alot of the issues discussed  on UBFriends are complicated and  “meaty.” But I look at it like this, if there are widespread, unhealthy practices going on, I certainly dont want new Christians to be influenced by them! And overall, I do think that the atmosphere on this site is one of love and concern for the members more than anger or bitterness toward them. In the end, it is God who saves, and it is God who holds his chosen ones in the palm of his hand, and no website (no matter how good or bad)  could ever take them out of  it!      

  7. To Name: I will respectfully point out that the vast majority of articles on  UBFriends are not about criticizing UBF; many are not about UBF at all. The topics discussed here should be of concern to mature, thinking, mission-minded Christians of all kinds. If you read every article through UBF-colored glasses, you may perceive them as bashing UBF. But if so, you are reading between the lines and inferring things that are not being said. This website is not really about the UBF organization. Our  readers are being edified, instructed and challenged. We are learning a great deal from one another, and it is helping us in our walk of faith in ways that have nothing to do with the organizational dimension.

  8. Joshua Yoon

    Thanks David for putting a thoughtful article and sharing your own story. Which supports a healthy Christian life? Mission versus sanctification? My answer is that we need both. They don’t necessarily compete with each other. Rather they are complementary. A few days before his death, Christ prayed for his disciples, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them in the world.” (John 17:17,18) In these verses Jesus revealed his expectations for both from his disciples. I believe we all agree that we need both to maintain a healthy Chrsitian life. The challenge is to know how to proportion and integrate these two seemingly opposing aspects of our walk with Christ. Jesus set a good example. Before ministering to people each day, he sought the face of God first and maintained an intimate relationship with His Father and sancfied himself (Jn 17:19). Without being sanctified by God’s word, mission could only turn out to be tiring and fruitless human efforts. Without carrying out mission (caring for others), sanctification (efforts to be made holy) could be self-focused, seclusive activity. How can we have both without neglecting either one? In light of Jesus’ life and the book of Acts, the baptism and anoting of the Holy Spirit is the key. When the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, they became boundless witnessess and grew in the Christ-like character.

    • david bychkov

      Hi Joshua. Thank you for your comment. As for my personal story, I described it more fully here- http://www.ubfriends.org/2010/09/do-all-dogs-go-to-heaven-young-ubf-members-and-doctrinal-stances/comment-page-1/#comment-592 in comment for you while ago, I will be thankful if you have a look, in case you haven’t before.
      I am agree that mission and sanctification should not compete and the balance and healthy relations between them are crucial, and Holy Spirit and God’s word could really help us. That is what giving us a hope. I just argued here with statement that mission (disciplemaking) is everything what we need. So the mission is everything we should live for, and everything we need to gain in our Christian life could be gained in process of fulfilling the mission. Under mission I mean exactly what I described – inviting people to discipleship and raising them. I heard statements like this: “all you need is one disciple”, “raise Abraham and Sarah”. I’m instisting that we should learn how to live the Christian life and it is something else from just carrying and passing on the mission.
      When I wrote the piece I had two other questions in my mind, which I hoped to raise later.
      1) Disciple vs. Christian. Disciple means the person who could carry out the mission, Should we concentrate just on raising disciples which would carry out the mission? Could the disciple which have learned how to carry out the mission be bad Christian and know very badly what Christian life is about? I think yes. And I think with this very strong mission priority it could be very easy. Lately I prepared a lecture on Exodus for our leaders, and I was asked to talk about Moses as a leader and shepherd, while it was very clear for me that it is very wrong focus of Exodus book, which talks of God’s salvation. I heard many lectures of discipleship. Though in UBF I hardly heard deep lectures of a) essence of Christian doctrine, b) essence of Christian life. We suppose that being a mission carrying disciple automatically means to know well Christian faith essence and be a good Christian. But if we just strongly emphasize mission we could easily loose what is Christianity at all. We could continue relay race and loose the baton.
      2) Church vs. Parachurch. If we are mission organization and our mission is to raise disciples and pass them the same mission – could it have sense at all? Ap. Paul was mission-centered man. He had mission team, he raised disciple. But their mission goal was very clear and it was not just to pass the mission, it was somewhere outside. It was to plant healthy Christian churches, which will operating without any focuses, limitations, but will have all kind of gifts which church need, all practices which church need and will carry out all obligations which church have to carry. Could Parachurch exist for itself?

  9. When I first stumbled upon this website I was hooked. It’s so not like the other sites which just bash and bash. In this site people care about what’s going on enough to want try to point out things and try to fix them.   Even if one was not in UBF one could learn a few things.

  10. GerardoR

    The idea expressed by this article reminds me of one of the tenants that drives the Opus Dei order in the Catholic Church: The sanctification of ordinary work, meaning that one can find God through the practice of law, engineering, or medicine, by picking up the garbage or by delivering the mail, if one brings to that work the proper Christian spirit. Opus Dei requires its members to place a crucifix in their place of work to remind them that that work isnt the time when you “turn off” your christian life but delve deeper in it.

  11. Darren Gruett

    Good comment, Gerardo. Paul expressed this idea well when he said, “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col 3:22-24). Whatever work we have been called to do it should always be done for the Lord.

  12. david bychkov

    Thanks, Gerardo and Darren. This topic was on my mind once I wrote this piece. If we have Biblical attitude, everything in our life should be considered as a field for serving God, proclaiming and revealing his praises, looking for his face and changing our characters. And this is without any doubt purpose for our life in the world, and meaning of church existing.
    I think raising disciples for this purpose – to be blessing to the outside world is a wondeful mission, and gave great sense to it. At conlusion speech at Lausanne conference last year Lindsay Brown calles Christian groups which worry about bring glory to God and share Gospel in this world to balance. He mentioned that the groups which are focused on Gospel sharing should also do good works for people from the world. And those who are just concentrated on charity – to preach the Gospel as well. He said that it is not really effective to do just one of this – we should do both.
    And I think it really has sense. If we just strongly focused on Gospel sharing and raising disciples for Gospel sharing and raising disciples – it is not really clear what we are doing for the world, how do we glorify his name in the world, serving as light and salt. But when we are taking care about both – Gospel sharing and blessing to world, revealing Christian characrer in all speres in our lives, considering all our life as fiels where God should be glorified – mission has perfect sense.