Experience Missions In a New Way!
Anytime the subject of missions or missionaries comes up the most frequently quoted passage of Scripture is the great commission;
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 NASB
However, the great commission applies to more than just missionaries and there are important things that all believers need to recognize. Here are three things to understand about the great commission.
- The great commission was given to individuals. This may seem overly simplistic, but the church is you and I. The church is not a building, an organization or entity unto its self. If we miss the you and I part, it is easy to shift the responsibility of the great commission to some fictitious entity. The reality is that each of us has been called to fulfill the great commission. Jesus didn’t leave this instruction just for missionaries who will travel to some far off land. He left it for you and I no matter where we live or what gifting and calling we have. The great commission can be fulfilled by each of us in our daily lives if we are living with purpose and intention.
- The great commission is about making disciples. Each of us, including missionaries, have been charged with the task of making disciples not just inviting someone to church or getting them to say a simple prayer. It takes relationship, effort, time and resources to win a person to Christ and then help them grow into a mature believer. It is a tragedy and irresponsible when new believers are abandoned before they grow enough to stand firm in the faith.
- We are not alone in the great commission. Jesus said, “I am with you always.” This should encourage all of us as we encounter the challenges involved with reaching a lost world. Let’s also take into consideration that Matthew chapter 28 isn’t the end of the story. Acts chapter 1:8 says, “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Are you a missionary? Let’s phrase the question a little differently. Are you called to live your life with the intentional focus of winning people to Christ and helping them grow as a believer? The answer for all of us should be a resounding yes! All of us are called to make disciples.
While we all share the calling and responsibility to share Jesus with others and disciple those who are receptive to the message how we go about doing that can vary greatly. Some are called to fulfill the great commission while at work, at school or by reaching friends.
Some are called to foreign missions or domestic missionary work. One thing is for sure, all of us are called to stay focused on the mission of making disciples.