What are churches for?

But Christ multiplies himself through the self-multiplication of the individual Christian. He has kindled his light in our souls that we may give that light to others.

How long it has taken us to realize that the command to “Go” is addressed not to official servants, but to all Christians, and that Christ’s purpose is to make every convert a missionary! Crescit eundo is the motto of his army—it grows as it goes.

Every enemy subdued is to become a recruiting officer, and the whole population is to be enlisted as his forces sweep on. Christian love begins at home, but it does not end at home.

Like the circles set in motion when you throw a stone into calm water, it widens evermore in its gifts and its regards, until it encompasses the globe.

How long it has taken us to realize that every endowment of talent, of influence, of wealth, is only Christ’s means of helping us to “Go,” and so to cooperate in the work of the world’s redemption!

What are churches for but to make missionaries? What is education for but to train them? What is commerce for but to carry them? What is money for but to send them?

What is life itself for but to fulfil the purpose of foreign missions, the purpose for which the blood-stained cross was set up on Calvary, the purpose for which God laid the floor of the firmament with its mosaic of constellations and bade the curtain of night and chaos rise at the creation!

 Augustus Hopkins Strong, Miscellanies: Chiefly Historical, vol. 1 (Philadelphia; Boston; Chicago; St. Louis; Toronto: Griffith & Rowland Press, 1912), 217–218.

About the author

Austin Gardner is pastor of Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA. Previously he was church planting missionary in Peru for 20 years.

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