Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Friday, June 25, 2010

Defining the Great Commission

With so much discussion of a Great Commission Resurgence it would seem appropriate to define the Great Commission. I believe that some of our disagreement comes from a differing understanding of the Great Commission.

Is it simply getting the Gospel to the nations? It would seem that for some this must be the definition. The desire to funnel the overwhelming portion of our resources to International Missions would seem to indicate this. While I am for International Missions, I live in the third largest mission’s field in the world and everyday my home state of Florida continues to grow as a mission’s field, with the world literally coming to Florida.

Is it simply reinventing North American Missions? For some it would seem that redirecting resources to the underserved population centers of America is a best solution to fulfilling the Great Commission. I confess I need some defining of the word "underserved." South Florida has 10,000,000 people, most of them lost, in its three southeastern counties. Surely, we can do a better job at the task of reaching North America.

Is it simply sending missions team on mission trips? A leader in SBC life indicates his church sent missionaries on trips to 27 nations last year. What of the rest of a lost world? Might these resources have been better utilized in a cooperative support and a strategic cooperative plan to reach the world?

Is it simply winning people to Christ where we live? Surely, we need to make soul winning a lifestyle practice not a programmed event. Surely, we must win others to Christ where we live. However, there are billions of people we will never meet that Jesus has made our responsibility.

Lest I be misunderstood, I am not being critical of the potential for change being created by the GCR. However, I would attempt to call us to balance. We must do International Missions, North American Missions, (in my case) Florida Missions, and local missions. It cannot, it must not become one without the other. Baptists still do best what we do together. The task of taking the gospel to the world is not a sprint to be run to exhaustion but rather a marathon to be run with planning and prudence until Jesus comes again.

If you take examine each of the accounts of the Great Commission in the New Testament you will find that the Great Commission begins where we are and spreads to the entire world. The Great Commission begins with confronting the lost with the gospel, moves to persuading the lost to repent and receive forgiveness and salvation, continues with leading the newly saved individual to experience believer’s baptism, proceeds to teach the new believer to experience the changed life that only Christ can provide through faithful discipleship and finds culmination in the life of this new believer when the new believer begins to live the missional life. This is the work that we must take to a lost world.

The Great Commission is less about program and more about passion. It is less about structure and more about souls. It is less about power and more about people. It is less about me and more about those dying without Christ. It is less about the vehicles (structure and finance) and more about our obedience and the call of God to be light in this dark world.

While there may be differing opinions concerning what a Great Commission Resurgence will look like there can be little difference about the Great Commission.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“The task of evangelism is not complete until the one evangelized becomes and evangelist.”
~ Unknown


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