A mission statement functions like a north star. It is the compass by which FCBC checks her course. And in the very same way that the direction north does not originate from the traveler so the direction of God’s church does not originate from the minds of men. God himself, through his Word, calls his church to a very specific purpose.
FCBC has worked hard to distill that calling to a single sentence:
We exist to glorify God by pointing the affections of all peoples to the all satisfying person of Jesus Christ.
If forced to distill the purpose of man’s existence into a single sentence, it would be difficult to improve upon the wording found in the Westminster Shorter Catechism1: What is the chief end of man? Answer: To glorify God2 and enjoy him forever3.
This is certainly in line with what the Scriptures teach. God speaks of his sons and daughters from the ends of the earth as those “whom I created for my glory” (Isa. 43:7; cf. Eph. 1:11–12). This pours very specific meaning into the command “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). The very purpose of our existence, whether we are eating or drinking or playing or working, is to bring God glory.
This eternal, universal purpose of man can be further segmented by asking this question, “What is the purpose of man’s existence on earth.” By adding the phrase “on earth” the focus shifts to our primary purpose in this life (as opposed to our primary purpose in eternity).
By Pointing the Affections...
Our purpose in this life is undoing the effects of the fall on our affections to make Jesus the most desirable thing in the universe (Mt. 13:44 Mt. 10:39). God designed men with desires. We don’t want to be indifferent, unaffected spectators. We either like or dislike, we are pleased or displeased, approve or reject.4
These inclinations and the subsequent emotions associated with the pursuit of what we desire are known as our affections.
The goal then of all our living should be to have all men’s affections wrapped up in Jesus Christ. This is true for both believers and unbelievers. As the affections of believers are untangled from self and the world5, they begin to hate sin and pursue righteousness with heart motivated zeal (sanctification). Unbelievers do not desire Christ in the least, and yet, Christ is the cure to their terminal sickness. As their affections turn to Christ and they begin to love him, they surrender to the only one who can save them from their sin (justification). So by pointing the affections of all believers to Christ and by pointing the affections of unbelievers to Christ we are bringing glory to God. Those whose affections are given to God love God and those who love God are recipients of his blessing (James 2:5; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:9; John 14:22).
Of all peoples...
These three words capture God’s heart for the world. They help us see the scope of his redemptive plan. The term “peoples” might sound strange in our ear but it has been used by many to avoid what is meant by the English word “nations.” The word nation in English is a reference to geo-political groupings of people. But, the Greek word ethnos and the Hebrew word gôy have a very different, a much more specific meaning. We get the English word ethnic from ethnos. Ethnic groups are defined by language, culture, and geographical location (not political boundaries). So when the term nation is used in the Bible it means different ethnic groups. This becomes very significant as we view the command of the great commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
God’s global purpose then, is to glorifying himself among all the ethnic groups of the world. History culminates with a global representation of people who worship God (whose affections are given to Jesus Christ). In fact God makes it very clear that Christ’s blood, “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9; cf. Rev. 7:9; Rev. 14:6).
To the all satisfying person of Jesus Christ.
God gets glory when the affections of all peoples find their satisfaction in Christ and in nothing else. The heart, filled to brimming with the presence of God, is like a man who has been well banqueted, and who can therefore look calmly on the passionate heat of starving men who fight with each other over garbage scraps. The world has much to offer, but nothing in comparison to what Christ offers in himself.
God created us with needs, and every single one of those needs was designed to be filled by him. David knew that “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). But universally, people have sought to fill those needs with God substitutes6. Even Solomon tried to do this and experienced failure (Ecc. 2:11; cf. Ecc. 1:14). This failure is designed by God to alert men that they are seeking happiness in the wrong place. God has commissioned us to point searching people to the true source, the all satisfying source of satisfaction, Jesus Christ (Is. 55:2-3; Jer. 31:25; cf. Jer. 31:14; John 10:10). He is the perfect satisfaction to every thirst of the soul (John 4:14; cf. John 6:35, 58).
1The Westminster Shorter Catechism was completed in 1647 by English and Scottish theologians. The assembly also produced the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger Catechism. The three documents are considered by many to be the grandest doctrinal statements to come out of the English Reformation, and one of the important documents of the Reformation.
2Rev. 4:11, 1 Pet. 4:11, Prov 16:4
3Ps. 16:11, Ps. 34:8, Rom. 5:5, Ps. 73:25, Ps. 17:15, Ps. 116:7
4Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections a Christian’s Character before God, by Dr. James Houston (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1996), 6.
5This happens primarily by the contemplation of one’s justification. See Rom. 2:4; Eph. 1:18; Eph. 2:4; Col 2:2.
6One of the most common ways the Bible references God-substitutes is idolatry. Idols are mentioned over 120 times in the Scriptures and are always condemned for their inferior satisfaction (i.e. Ps. 31:6; Ps. 96:5; Is. 44:9; Jer. 10:14; Ez. 6:13; 1 Thes. 1:9).