The Big Four-O

from Sep 13, 2011 Category: Ministry News

The New York Times ran a story this spring that profiled a strange phenomenon. Rather than institution building, it seems that some non-profits, finding that their project-based work is nearing completion, have chosen to turn off the lights gracefully. One charity was working to raise awareness of malaria and help provide bed netting in malaria zones. Within a few years the danger of this mosquito-borne infectious disease is likely to subside. Indeed, this non-profit organization is celebrating a “Mission Accomplished.”

That prompted me to think about what “Mission Accomplished” would look like for Ligonier Ministries. We hit the “big four-o” this year. Are we entering a mid-life crisis? What’s the mission? Is it relevant? How would we define success? How would we know if our work was nearing completion?

Put another way, does Ligonier exist to hold conferences? Is our goal to print Bibles, books, and magazines? Maybe we exist to build buildings and start a new educational institution? Or maybe our raison d’être—our reason to be—is to air radio and TV broadcasts?

No. Our mission is the message, not the medium. Ligonier Ministries is built on one profound proposition: to help Christians grow in Christ. Discipleship is the goal and Christlikeness is “Mission Accomplished.” We have been at this mission forty years, a long time by non-profit standards. However, our mission is not novel.

Students of the Bible will likely find this mission sounding familiar, for it is derived from the Great Commission as given to the church by Jesus Himself. Go. Disciple. Teach. Observe. Four powerful directives from Matthew 28:19–20 that command our attention and set our agenda. This mission of stimulating Christians to grow in Christ is great in scope and eternally significant. Therefore we aim to faithfully teach the word of Christ so that His people abide in Him and grow fruitful. Dr. Sproul explains that “it is the teaching of Christ that makes His disciples blossom and bloom, producing fruit in their season.”

Dr. Sproul has often referred to himself as a battlefield theologian — fighting for the truth of God’s Word amidst rampant relativism. Ligonier Ministries has therefore always been engaged in a two-front war: fighting growing secularism in the culture and liberalism in the church. The church strays from our mission when we resolve to “do more for God.” Instead, our call is to “repent and believe God more.” Jesus says that we are His disciples if we abide in His Word: “Then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31–32).

We come alongside the church to proclaim the whole counsel of our holy, triune God to as many people as possible. Our voice joins with the historical band of brothers and sisters throughout the ages who have been called out of darkness into light.

Ligonier Ministries stands for the truth of God’s Word by equipping God’s people to build God’s kingdom. Our mission is accomplished whenever the preacher delivers the gospel, not good advice; when citizens love their neighbor as themselves; when a husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church; when a wife submits to her husband as unto the Lord; when children joyfully honor their parents. We seek enduring reformation according to the Bible, one that impacts every heart in every corner of the world.


Chris Larson is president of Ligonier Ministries.