The Difference Between "Mission-Minded" and "Mission-hearted" churches

by Robert Breaker III

copyright 2000

 

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            It has been said that there are only two kinds of churches in America today.  Every church is either a mission-minded church, or a mission-hearted church.  A "mission-minded" church doesn't mind if Missionaries come to visit them or preach for them.  When they are there, they don't pay them a bit of mind.  And, when that Missionary leaves, he never comes back to the mind of the congregation in prayer! 

            But, then there are the Mission-hearted churches.  They really care about Missionaries.  The go out of their way to support them, and help them.  It may be that they are unable to help them financially, but they will definitely pray for the Missionary and his family.  They have a heart for missions.  This is the kind of church that God wants.  And, this is the kind of church that will be blessed of God.

            Missions is the heartbeat of the Local church.  It is carrying out the Great Commission to the entire world.  And, God will always honor those who honor his word, and want to obey it.  But, sadly we have too many Laodicean churches in this day and age.  They care more about money, their church building, and themselves to worry with Missions.  They could really care less about souls dying and going to Hell.

Oh, they might give the appearance of loving Missions, and put on a big show.  They might have Missionaries come by and visit and preach quite often.  Or they may support a few Missionaries and put their pictures on the back wall of the church to show the visitors how many missionaries they support.  They may even have a Missions conference and take up a faith promise offering so they can brag about how much they give to Missions each year.  But, if the truth be known, they really don't care about Missions or Missionaries like they should.  They are only mission-minded, but not mission-hearted.

            Please don't misunderstand me.  I am not against these things.  But, I do believe that they can be done with the wrong motive.  And, isn't that what God is looking at?  Isn't that what he'll judge us for?  God is looking for quality in service, and not just quantity.  The quality is up to us, but the quantity is up to God.  And, I'm sure God sees that there are many who have a Missions program, not because of their love for Christ and souls, but because they want "bragging rights" or the praise of men for their Missions giving.  But, God's desire is for us to have a heart for missions, and to give to please Him and see souls saved.  This should be our motive.

            I firmly believe that in some churches today, there are many people that put money in the plate just to appease their conscience.  They know God has called them to go to a mission field or to get more involved with Missions, but deep down they are saying, "There God I did my part, now leave me alone!"  They give their money, but they won't give their heart!  And, money isn't the only thing a Missionary needs to carry the gospel to a foreign field.  There is more to it than that.

            I believe that prayer is the greatest support that any Missionary can get.  He needs his fellowlabourers in Christ to hold him up while on deputation, on furlough, or on the field.  But, far too many people will not spend time in prayer interceding on their behalf.  Why is this?  One reason is because Americans are too carnal.  They are like Israel in Amos chapter 6, and care only about themselves.  They are not grieved for the affliction of others. 

Many Christians today care more about things they can see rather than things they can't.  They care more about their church building than they do about lost souls destined for a Lake of Fire.  They would rather see what their money is buying.  They don't want to give it to a Missionary in the back woods of nowhere, and never know whether or not it was worth the giving.  They are fleshy, and want to see their rewards now, instead of at the judgment. 

            How sad this is.  Not only do we have few too many churches giving to Missions today, but most of the ones that do, are giving with the wrong motive.  They give money so they can bag about it, and say they had a part in it.  But, they won't give any time in prayer and ask God to bless it.  My brethren, these things ought not so to be.  If you're going to give to Missions, give it your all.  Give it your heart!

            Now, I'd like to look to the scriptures and show you three reasons why I believe there are more mission-minded churches than mission-hearted ones.  We will look at three different passages in the gospels all about the same event.

            Let's start with Matthew chapter 24 and verse 1.  We read, "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple."  Now, this is right after Matthew chapter 23 where Jesus preaches the hardest sermon of his life!  He really shucks the corn, and lets those Pharisees have it!  This was the greatest preaching opportunity of Jesus' ministry.  He's in the Temple preaching to the wicked, hypocritical, unbelieving leaders of Israel.  But, where are his disciples?  Why aren't they there?  Well, it seems that they have excused themselves to go out on the town and look at some architecture.  How sad that they were more interested in some silly buildings rather than the Builder of the universe

This same scenario is found in many churches today.  Far too many worship the church building itself rather than the one who is supposed to be in the church - God.  They care more about whether or not the curtains match the pews and the pews match the carpet, than they do about souls.  These are your "mission-minded" churches.  They are mission-minded because their mind only thinks about their church, instead of helping to start new ones on other fields.

I've seen many churches scrimp and save for their building fund so that they can build this huge, massive edifice they call a church.  Yet, they still haven't filled the building that they are meeting in.  Why aren't they thankful for what God has given them?  Why don't they do their part in Mission's giving rather than waste money on something that God is going to burn up someday anyway?  I believe it's because they have bought into the lie that's being preached today by so-called "men of God" who teach that you're not spiritual or you're not blessed of God unless you have a big church. 

According to their line of reasoning, if you're a small church, then you must not be right with God.  But, is this always so?  Rev. 3:17-19 says this:

 

vs 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

vs 18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

vs 19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

 

According to the Bible, the size of the church building, or how nice it is, is not a determining factor of its spirituality.  The Laodicean church was hugh.  It was rich, and increased with goods.  But, it was about as spiritual as a whole in the ground.  What a church must do, is get its eyes off of earthly things, and look toward heavenly things. Then and only then, will they be spiritual.  When they do this, they will see the need to give to Missions.  And, when they do give with the right heart, then they'll have some rewards in glory!  But, if their riches are down here, they won't have much up there.

            Size does not determine spirituality.  What determines whether or not a church is mission-minded, or mission-hearted, is how worldly that church is.  If it is a carnal, fleshly church, then they will not care much about souls.  But, if the people love God, and forsake fellowship with the world, then the church will usually be a spirit-filled congregation of believers that genuinely desire to see souls saved, and have a heart for missions.

            Now, let's continue on.  In Matthew, we read about the disciples who skipped out on Jesus' campmeeting in the temple as he preached to the Sanhedrin.  But, in Mark 13:1, we read:

 

"And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!  

 

We can glean a little more from this verse than we did in Matthew.  Can't you just see the disciples showing up late for church after touring Jerusalem on a double-decker bus. They're wearing their straw caps, tanktops, and shorts, with their cameras hanging around their necks. They are sunburnt from being outside all day, and they smiled when they saw Jesus.  Then one of them spoke up and said, "Master...look at these buildings..."  Now, who could that have been?  Well, if you know your Bible, then you know that the one who called Jesus "Master" more frequently than anyone else was none other than Judas Iscariot.  And, more than likely, old Judas was the one who got those disciples out of church.  You'd better be careful!  The company you keep will either give you a heart for missions, or take it away from you.  And, Judas (that old devil) got the minds of the disciples thinking about earthly things instead of eternal.  You'd better watch who you hang around with.  If your friends are carnal, more than likely, you will be too.  But, if your friends are spiritual, then they will help you to be so as well.  Colossians 3:2 commands us to "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."  And, your affections come from your heart, not your mind!

      Finally, let's look at the same event again in the gospels but this time from the book of Luke.  In 21:5 we read, "And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts..."  Now we can see the biggest problem!  The disciples were looking at the goodly stones (gems, diamonds, pearls, etc).  It was money that their eyes were on, and not souls, preaching, or missions.  You'd better be careful because money can and will get your eyes off of Missions. 

Money has always, and always will be an enemy of the Gospel if it is desired for one's self, and not for missions.  If Satan can get someone's eyes on money, it will steal their glance at souls.  And, money is a real hinderance to any church becoming a Mission-hearted church unless they are willing to part with it.   If a church hangs on to their money, or will only spend it on themselves and their church, they will end up being only a "mission-minded" church.  Or  maybe, they'll end up not doing anything at all for missions.  And, more likely than not, they'll end up being just like the church of Laodicea.  They will appear rich outwardly, but in God's eyes they are poor, miserable, blind, and naked spiritually.

            In conclusion, I'd like to ask you a question. Is your church a mission-minded church, or a mission-hearted church?  If your church cares more about their church building, money, friends or affiliations, then they are probably just a mission-minded church.  And, God won't mind giving them absolutely nothing at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Why? Because they did nothing for Missions.  And, if they did, it was with the wrong motive or wrong heart. 

            David said this in Psalms 139:23, 24:

 

       Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

       And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

Do you need to say this prayer today as well?  If not, how about praying this:

God, give us more mission-hearted churches that care for Missionaries and about lost souls!  God, give us more prayer warriors that will pray for Missionaries.  God, please help us to be more mission-hearted.  And, give us more churches that will serve you with the right heart!