The love of God enables our service. Simply, we serve because of Jesus! The world is badly in need. So, just as Jesus came to set this world right, we respond to the commands of the Word of God and go to do likewise. Compassion demands our radical action.
“The church exists by mission, as a fire exists by burning.” – Emil Brunner
Where there is burning, there is fire. And where there is church – there is the mission of God.
We are a Lutheran community ...
We are a Lutheran community in mission. This is our fundamental identity.
We are Lutheran. We affirm the tradition not only because it is ours by inheritance, but because we believe it is biblically authentic and missiologically helpful.
And we are a community. We will not assume that community, simply, "happens." We must work at building it: listening to one another, serving one another, holding one another accountable in the love and the mission of Jesus. Christian community is both gift and task.
We must work, in particular, at building our community within the fabric of the worldwide, international, and interdenominational Kingdom of Christ. We are part of a global community.
We will advocate interrelationship, interdependence, and creative partnership in the cause of mission. Traditional missionary conferences will become more and more anomalous, as we scatter ourselves broadly into projects and programs under shared leadership and in international and interdenominational teams. Indeed, we will learn to find our "team mates" in the interconnected and interdependent Body of Jesus. They may not be members of the World Mission Prayer League. But we will count them our fellow workers in the Kingdom of Christ.
Within our own fellowship, we will work to make our "roster" reflect our international identity – in the complexion of our staff at home and around the world, as well as in our governing Council and committees
... committed to know Christ
We are a community committed to the Person and the Cause of Jesus. And we do not consider the commitment optional. We believe that committed lives are indispensable for authentic and compelling witness. We envision holy living, not only in theory but also in practice, as individuals and as a fellowship. We envision purposeful and continual growth in grace and Christlikeness, energized by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We mean to be a community that regularly and unabashedly calls others to commitment as well. We mean to plead with all of our creative energy, "Be reconciled to Christ," as ambassadors of God himself.
We understand that this commitment exacts a cost – and we purpose to bear it, by the grace of God. We will ready ourselves for suffering. We will turn away from costly comforts, a larger income, material possessions, and places of personal privilege or honor. We will choose instead to embrace the way of poverty, loss, suffering, and humiliation – whatever it takes to bring the Gospel of Jesus to as many people as possible.
... committed to pray for the advance of his kingdom
We are a praying community. We will gather with one another regularly, humbly, and in joyous attention to Jesus.
This means that we are not, primarily, a missionary sending organization. We are fundamentally a praying "league", a community of men and women who are committed to prayer as a key methodology for advancing the Gospel of Christ. Prayer is the "working method" of our mission. We will pray for the advance of the Kingdom of Christ – in our offices, hallways, homes, streets and missionary projects around the world.
Our "working method" implies for us important practical corollaries. They are fueled by the understanding that our material resources and personnel are given by the grace of God in answer to prayer.
Since God gives our resources, we will not solicit human beings. We envision mutual accountability as we hold one another to this common commitment.
Since God gives our resources, we will continue to treat them "as from the hand of God" – honoring financial designations explicitly. We will treat our personnel "as from the hand of God" as well – respecting the shape of their individual callings within our overall work and fellowship.
We acknowledge that these commitments may create tensions within our fellowship. We are committed to non-solicitation; yet some of our members would prefer freedom to share news of their material needs more openly. We respect individual "callings"; yet some may question the direction of their colleagues’ guidance. We acknowledge the tensions; we intend to live with them.
... committed to share the gospel and ourselves with those who do not know him
We declare our passion for the evangelization of the world. We will share the gospel. And our sharing will involve more than our words. We propose sharing "ourselves" – that is, our material goods, our money, our service, our very lives.
We will focus our sharing in three areas: disciple-making along the frontiers that surround us today; leadership development in service to the emerging church; and, mission mobilization.
Disciple-making along the frontiers: We will remain prayerfully alert to the frontiers that surround us today, and the new frontiers that may beckon us tomorrow. We will apply our prayers and resources, in particular, along the frontier of the unreached – those peoples among whom an indigenous, missionizing, church-planting movement has yet to be established. We will apply ourselves further, as much as possible, along the frontier of limited access – unreached peoples among whom few missionaries are at work, or traditional missionaries cannot go.
Our commitment to the frontier may call us into new directions, and to reevaluate established programs and involvement. We will find a priority in the unreached peoples of the Ten-Forty Window. We will find a further focus among unreached youth and urban dwellers. We may find compelling frontiers as well in North America and perhaps elsewhere in the western world.
Leadership development: We believe that God has equipped the church with everything needful for its basic ministries of proclamation, service and administration. We believe that God equips the church, as well, with the leadership necessary for its life and ministry. We will not, therefore, lead churches where local leaders are available. We will not assume basic ministries of proclamation, service and administration. These belong to the church. We will not do for the church what it is itself equipped by God to do.
Rather, we will encourage the church to take up its calling. We will pray, in particular, for its leadership, and work to encourage and develop its leadership in every way.
Mission mobilization: We will work toward an indigenous, missionizing, church-planting movement, wherever God has led us. We will work under the structures of the church as it exists in hopeful partnership, that the church may be planted where it has not yet advanced.
... committed to encourage Christians everywhere in this global task
We will challenge one another – and Christians everywhere – to adventurous participation in the mission of Christ in the world.
We applaud evidences of God’s mission from and to the entire world. We believe that the mission of God belongs to the whole people of God. We will encourage Christians everywhere in its pursuit.
As for ourselves and our work, we intend to be mobile. We pledge ourselves to expendability. We will not ensconce our persons or our organization permanently in any of our areas of work. We understand ourselves as scaffolding; but when a building is completed, the scaffolding must be removed. In all of our work, we will plan for our own dismantling in order to participate in building up the church in another area.
We Believe In ...
- The only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – full of love and glory.
- The unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible, our infallible guide and inerrant norm for doctrine and living.
- The value and dignity of all people: created in God's image to live in love and holiness, but alienated from God and each other because of their sin and guilt, justly subject to God’s wrath and unable to save themselves.
- Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example, who assumed the judgment due sinners by dying in our place, and who was bodily raised from the dead and ascended as Savior and Lord.
- The means of grace – principally the Bible and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper – by which God shares with us the good news of the wonderful salvation that can be ours in Jesus Christ.
- Justification by God’s grace – complete access to God’s every gift and benefit – for all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
- The indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and the spiritual gifts necessary for a calling to obedient service.
- The unity of all believers in Jesus Christ, manifest in worshipping and witnessing churches making disciples throughout the world.
- The future personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people with justice and mercy, giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life.
We Further Believe That ...
The historic creeds of the church – the Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian – and the historic confessions of the Lutheran Church – particularly the Small Catechism and the Unaltered Augsburg Confession – describe the Christian faith accurately and well.