The Mission of Emmanuel

We believe God has placed Emmanuel Baptist Church in the metro Kansas City area in order to ENGAGE PEOPLE BEYOND OUR WALLS WITH TRANSFORMING GOSPEL TRUTH. Sounds great! But just exactly what does it mean? Implicit in our Mission Statement are three basic commands:

First, the phrase “BEYOND OUR WALLS” calls for mobilization – for believers in Christ to go beyond the walls of the local church. Too often Christians view their faith as something that happens only on Sunday mornings, and only inside the walls of the church. But Christ calls us to mobilize, to go out into our world and actively take the good news of Christ to people who have never experienced His life-changing grace. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus left His disciples – including us – with our marching orders:

Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV) – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Second, we’re called to “ENGAGE PEOPLE,” to actively build relationships with people who’ve not yet come to faith in Christ, and share the truth claims of the gospel with them in a winsome manner. That’s permeation. Just as salt must permeate food in order to make it appetizing, and just as light must permeate darkness in order to dispel it, we must move out of our comfort zones and take the good news of Christ to people who may be very different from us. Jesus said it like this:

Matthew 5:13–16 (ESV) – “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

This means we view non-Christians not as the enemy, but as neighbors and friends who are just like we were before Christ found us and changed our lives. We’re to “seek the welfare” of our cities and our neighborhoods, making life better even for those who don’t share our faith in Christ. That’s exactly what God instructed the Old Testament Israelites to do during the years when they lived in Babylon in the days of Jeremiah the prophet:

Jeremiah 29:7 (ESV) – “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

Finally, our mission includes transformation, engaging people beyond our walls “WITH TRANSFORMING GOSPEL TRUTH.” We believe the Bible is a supernaturally inspired book, given to us by God Himself:

2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV) – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The Bible’s core message is the good news that God sent His Son into the world to save a people who would bring Him honor and glory. As we share these truths with the people we meet, God opens hearts and changes minds, making former enemies of God into followers of Christ. Paul said it happens like this:

Romans 10:17 (ESV) – So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

This verse is saying that in order for a person to place saving faith in Christ and experience salvation, they first have to encounter “the word of Christ,” the gospel message. Perhaps a friend shares it with them in a conversation, or maybe they read the gospel message in a book or on a website. But then then they have to experience what this verse calls “hearing,” which refers to God enabling them to “hear with the ears of their heart,” as the Bible calls it – not just understanding the facts of the gospel but for the first time grasping their need for Christ and His love for them. Then and only then can they place saving faith in Christ and receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Only the transforming truth of the gospel message can change people’s lives in this way. Thus, as God’s children we have to be prepared at all times to share with non-Christians about our faith:

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV) – Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

It’s every Christian’s privilege and responsibility to lovingly share the Gospel through our lives and with our words.

So how are we going to do this?  Our Core Values:

It’s great to have a laser-focused mission. But this begs the question, “How are you going to accomplish this?”

The answer is found in what we hold high, what we value, what we prioritize. If everything we do is considered top priority, then actually nothing is top priority. So here are the four core values we’ll prioritize at Emmanuel above everything else:

WORSHIP | We’ll value experiencing God in true, passionate worship.

Worship is commanded by God. He desires and deserves the devotion of his followers:

Hebrews 12:28b–29 (ESV) – Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that true worship must include both our affections and our intellects – worshiping “in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23–24 (ESV) – “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Biblically informed worship, then, will move us emotionally, stirring us to love God with passionate hearts, to pray to Him as we are grieved by our sins or moved by the needs of others or by the greatness of our God. But it will also include instruction from God’s Word – the declaration of truth, and our reception of it with eager minds and compliant wills. Thus, music is always a key component of true worship:

Psalm 100:1-2 (ESV) – Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!

Ephesians 5:18b-19 (ESV) – Be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.

Biblical worship always involves preaching, the proclamation of God’s Word:

2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) – Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

When we worship God in this way, something supernatural and utterly holy happens. God’s presence is manifested as His Spirit opens our hearts not only to Him but also to ourselves, showing us who we are in moments of holy self-disclosure. Here’s how Paul explained it to the Corinthian Christians:

1 Corinthians 14:24–25 (ESV) – If all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

This is what the prophet Isaiah experienced when he had that incredible vision of God described in Isaiah 6.

Isaiah 6:1–8 (ESV) – In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”  4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”  6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”  8And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

In this incredible experience of worship, Isaiah realized his utter sinfulness and need for forgiveness in the presence of his thrice-holy God. He also realized God’s unique will for his own life – to serve as a spokesman on behalf of God, delivering God’s Word to His people. It is only in such moments of true worship that God discloses Himself to us, showing us our need for His cleansing and forgiveness, and bringing utter clarity regarding His will for our lives.

BELONG | We’ll value finding real life in soul-nourishing community.

We’re created for relationships, not isolation. God has designed each of us for deep and intimate connection with Him and others. We were created for relationship, not isolation. We’re challenged to connect our lives with others in His family.

Matthew 22:36–40 (ESV) – “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Small groups are where that can happen. At Emmanuel we believe every member needs to be involved in a small group, whether it’s a Sunday School class on Sunday morning or a Life Group at another hour during the week. That’s where we make friendships that will last for a lifetime, and not just with people our own age.

Emmanuel must be a place where broken people – and that’s all of us – gather, worship, and open our hearts to God and to one another. Reminding ourselves daily how much we have to rely on Jesus and His grace and one another is a non-negotiable if we’re to be the kind of people Christ wants His church to be. Pretending we’re something that we’re not is hypocrisy, and the world has seen its fill of that, both inside and outside the church.

James 5:16 (ESV) – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

Colossians 3:12–14 (ESV) – Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Each of us needs a place where we can live out these commands: confessing our faults to one another, praying for one another, and doing life together through good times and tough times as well.

1 Thessalonians 2:8 (ESV) – So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

At Emmanuel we believe passionately in the value of cross-generational relationships: young adults connecting with senior adults, middle age singles connecting with teens, children connecting with all ages in the church. We profit from the wisdom that older believers have to offer. In a culture in which youth is idolized, we believe the church needs to model respect and love for all ages, both young and old alike.

Proverbs 20:29 (ESV) – The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

GROW | We’ll value progressing in faith and knowledge.

We understand that we’re broken, desperate, and unworthy, but through the continual grace of God and life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit we’re being restored into Christ’s likeness. God’s exhorts us to grow in our relationship with Him:

2 Peter 3:18 (ESV) – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:5–7 (ESV) – Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

But how does that happen? What are the means, the tools God uses to accomplish this in our lives? Well, it happens as we worship Him in spirit and in truth. It happens as we open our lives to God and to one another in small groups. It happens through personal devotions – Bible study and prayer. It happens as we use our spiritual gifts, serving God in the local church. And it especially happens as He challenges our lives in specific areas and we begin to trust and obey Him in ways we never have. As we grow, God enables and empowers us to do good works that bring honor to Him:

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

REACH | We’ll practice living and giving the message of Christ.

In His sermon on the Mount, Jesus used two metaphors to describe his followers:

Matthew 5:13–14 (CSB) – “You are the salt of the earth. … 14 You are the light of the

Salt and light – those same two descriptors still apply today. Christians are to be spiritual
salt and light in a bland, dark world.

When Jesus used the imagery of salt to describe believers, what was He saying? He was acknowledging that we live in a world made bland by sin, stripped of most of its glory by the Adamic fall. We, however, are to make a difference in our culture: we are not only to preserve spiritual truth and moral goodness, we are also to restore flavor to what can otherwise be a tasteless existence for those without God in their lives. Our tendency, however, is to stay in the saltshaker! In order for salt to be effective it has to penetrate, and that means we have to be willing to be shaken out of the saltshaker of our comfortable Christian lives, spilled out onto and into a world made tasteless by sin. But lest we be intimidated by this, we need to remember that just as it is with salt when it is used as a seasoning, a little bit can go a long way!

Just one Christian in an office environment or a school setting or a neighborhood or a soccer team can bring about incredible change for the good. So let’s be willing to be shaken out of our spiritual lethargy and get involved in the world around us as redeeming change agents. Join the PTA. Start coaching an athletic or dance team. Start a Bible study in your workplace. Run for office. And look for opportunities in everyday life to engage people beyond our church walls with life transforming gospel truth.

The second metaphor Jesus employed to describe his followers was that of light:

Matthew 5:14–16 (CSB) – “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot
be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand,
and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine
before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in

In making this statement Jesus assumed we understood several basic truths about life and

  • The world is in spiritual darkness. People without Christ are lost. (John 3:19-20)
  • People who die without Christ are stepping out into eternity headed toward eternal darkness – a place the Bible calls hell. (Romans 6:23)
  • Salvation and forgiveness are possible only through repentance and faith in Christ.
    (Acts 4:10-12)
  • The Christian life is all about serving others, not being served yourself. (Mark 10:45)
  • Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)
  • As the Father sent Him, so He sends us. (John 20:21)
  • It’s not enough just to do nice things for people. We have to verbalize our witness.

It’s through the hearing of the gospel that people come to faith in Jesus Christ.

(Romans 10:13-15) This means that we as a congregation of New Testament believers must make it our aim to convert, train, and send out from our doors a generation of light bearers for Jesus: youth, college students, seminarians, missionaries, businessmen and businesswomen. But this will not just happen. God is calling us to a radical discipleship: radical in committing our financial resources to kingdom outreach and enterprises, radical in letting our light shine daily through our personal witness, radical in leveraging all of our congregational resources to prepare a new generation who will be torchbearers and light bringers, taking the gospel into the darkness and dispelling it to the glory of Jesus Christ.