Where’s the Fire? A number of year’s ago a fast food restaurant caught everyone’s attention with the feisty little lady opening hamburger buns and asking the server behind the counter, “Where’s the Beef?” We need some feisty folks in church today asking, “Where’s the Fire?”
Emil Bruner once said, “The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission there is no Church; and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith.” Bruner was a Swiss theologian who is closely associated with neo-orthodoxy. There are probably many things that Bruner and I may have disagreed about, but this is not one of them. It is an obvious analogy. You can stack the food, douse it with lighter fluid, and just watch. But without combustion there is no fire. Where there is no fire, there is no burning.
If Bruner is right, and in my humble opinion he is on this topic, then where there is no mission, there is no church. We become a club or gathering, or something else. Jesus said that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit indwelt us and we would be His witnesses. That is fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when God breathes life into His church by sending His Spirit to indwell the church. With that the church becomes a living organism.
It is our supernatural DNA as the body of Christ. We have “God DNA” as His children indwelt by His Spirit. That DNA is missional DNA. Romans 10:13 holds out the amazing promise that anyone can call on the Name of the LORD and be saved. But Romans 10:14 quickly points out that someone cannot call on the name of someone they have never heard of, and they cannot hear without someone proclaiming the message to them. A couple verses later we discover that faith comes from hearing God’s Word. It is as Bruner said.
Mission is not defined by geography. It can be across the street, or around the globe. Neither is mission defined by our preferences or opinions, or even traditions. The Lord Jesus who gave it to His church defines it. He defines it in what we call the Great Commission. We are told to proclaim the message to every ethnic group on our planet, and of those who respond in faith we are to make disciples teaching them to do the same.
So today, should we not ask ourselves, “Where is the fire?” How are our churches doing missionally? I would love to help you take the next step. Contact me at www.churchunleashedglobal.org.