[featured_image]I was driving up Interstate 5 to northern California one day and I passed a Panera Bread truck. I love good bread – and Panera is good bread. In fact, I’ve never had anything there that wasn’t good. My daughter loves their cinnamon crunch bagels. Their bagels are really good. As I passed by this Panera Bread truck, I read on the side of the truck: “A Loaf of Bread in Every Arm.”

I thought to myself as I wrote it down, “Now that’s a mission!” It’s clear. It’s memorable. It’s measurable. It’s inspiring. It’s simple, yet comprehensive. I could picture it – everyone carrying a loaf of bread under their arm.

This caused me to ponder the mission of the church as I drove.

  • What is our mission?
  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What are we devoted to?

My wife is on the mailing list for Panera Bread. Today’s email included this:
Bread is our Passion, Soul and Expertise!

  • What is your passion?
  • What is your soul?
  • What is your expertise?

Paul states our mission clearly in his letters. He tells the church in Colossae, “We proclaim him admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” (Col 1:28) There it is: EVERYONE perfect (or complete) in Christ! He adds, “To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (v29) This was certainly Paul’s focus, passion, and I dare say, his expertise!

He writes to the church in Philippi, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

(Phil 2:10-11). There it is: EVERY knee bowing and EVERY tongue confessing: Jesus is Lord!

That’s the mission of the Church! That’s why we are here! We’re here to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Until every knee bows!

Until every tongue confesses!

Wow! Practically speaking, am I declaring with my words that Jesus is Lord? Am I displaying in my life that Jesus is Lord! I have to confess that I’ve got some changes to make if I’m going to live true to this mission. This is not just about a slogan on the side of a truck, or on your website, or on the sign outside your church.

This is the Missional Challenge:

It’s proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord to every man, woman and child in your neighborhood, in your workplace, in your village, town, or community–so that they can accept or reject Jesus as their Lord!

“Imagine what God could do in your neighborhood, town, city or state if every man, woman and child who lived there was repeatedly confronted with a clear and relevant witness to the love of Jesus Christ.” The Infinity Alliance

Panera Bread encourages you to become a Bread Connoisseur. They provide specific ways to evaluate both crust and crumb using Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch and Taste. I can easily imagine myself becoming an “expert” at discerning good bread. Can I also imagine myself becoming an “expert” witness to the love of Jesus Christ to every man, woman and child who lives near me? Is that my passion, soul and expertise?

How about you?