In this series I have been exploring the relationship between worship and the mission of God. I have already established that the mission of God and the mission of the church are related, but not the same. I have also indicated that redemption serves the purpose of creating worshipers.
This leads to the third significant understanding regarding the relationship of worship to mission: even though the church’s mission is to make disciples through the proclamation of the gospel, this end is subordinate to worship. As John Piper has famously argued, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”1 In other words, the purpose of the gospel is to enable people to draw near to communion with God through Christ by faith, and making disciples involves bringing them into a deeper understanding of the nature of their relationship in worship to their Creator. DeYoung and Gilbert’s definition of the mission of the church includes this essential relationship of mission to worship:
The mission of the church is to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship the Lord and obey his commands now and in eternity to the glory of God the Father.2
This definition is quite helpful since it includes an understanding that evangelism (“declaring the gospel”) is subordinate to making disciples, which itself is subordinate to worship.
- John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 35. Here Piper is using “missions” as the idea of evangelism rather than in the same way missional authors use “mission.” Additionally, to be fair, Stetzer agrees with this assertion: “The purpose of church planting is to being a church that gathers to praise God in corporate worship. . . . By definition, churches are ‘people of worship’” (Stetzer, Planting Missional Churches, 260). [↩]
- DeYoung and Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church?, 62. [↩]