I would say if you were to ask ten different persons you know in church that question, you could very well get ten different answers. Among the varied answers would be: the church is about worship, bible study, fellowship, prayer, etc., which are not wrong.
Missions may or may not feature in their answers.
In an address to the Westminster Theological Seminary in 1957, Bruce F. Hunt from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church delivered a Paper entitled “The Church and Mission.” In this, he laid out three intriguing propositions: 1. The work of the church is missions; 2. Missions is the work of the church; and 3. The work of missions is the church.
Casually, these propositions may all sound the same. But let me briefly explore these with you, one at a time, and we’ll begin to see what Hunt means.
The work of the church is mission Hunt wrote: “The work of the church is not primarily self-preservation, the perfection of organization … the improvement of the membership…” When the Lord gave his disciples the Great Commission, he addressed them as part of the church, not a separate little group. So, no member of the true church, or congregation of Christians, can rightly say, “I don't want to make disciples,” “I don't want to be a witness.” Or some other similar excuse. Missions is the great reason for the church’s existence, its great work.
Missions is the work of the church Hunt asserts: Missions is the work of the church—the church as a whole and of the several members as part of the whole. Missions is not an individual or private matter. He cited several examples from Scripture to support this proposition.
The work of missions is the church Finally Hunt states, the work of missions is the church—or, to put it a little more clearly, the work of missions is primarily the establishment of the church. He backs this up with the purpose he saw in Ephesians 4:12, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
Hence, he concludes that the work of missions is primarily that of building the church.
And so... Yes! Beloved, you have a part to play!
Pastor Robert Chew