Check out the first part of this blog – The Local Church and the Great Commission: One Mission, Two Contexts
One of the most effective ways for the local church to fulfill the Great Commission is to be actively involved in sending people out to make disciples in all nations. One may respond to that statement by arguing for the need to reach the lost people in our own neighborhoods and local communities. I believe it is a both/and and not an either/or when it comes to disciple making. A healthy church is concerned with proclaiming the gospel in the local community and around the world. With that said, a Pashtun man in Southern Afghanistan is not going to accidentally make his way to the Southeastern part of the United States, find a church, and hear the gospel. We have the only message that can bring salvation to him, and the urgency of eternity ought to propel us to be intentional about going and sending people to share Christ with people like the Pashtuns.
One way to determine how passionate a church is about the Great Commission is to observe how many and how often they are sending people out. When a church of 400 people, sends out 15 people a year on one or two mission trips, that church, whether they realize or not, may be neglecting the command of Christ to make disciples in all nations. A good indicator of a Great Commission church is not only how many people they are bringing in, but also how many people they are sending out.
In Acts 13, we see the church not as merely the place of ministry, but as the base of ministry as they send out Paul and Barnabas. Now, one must be careful and not imply from that text that everyone is called to career missions. At the same time, churches are most effective at making disciples in all nations when they are regularly sending people out. This picture in Acts reminds us that the church is not intended to be a social club, but a missions sending strategy center.
For simplicity in thinking through ways the church can be involved in sending people out, we will use the categories of Short, Mid, and Long-term. I think every person in a local church who is physically able ought to prayerfully consider going on short-term (1-2 weeks) mission trip. Short-term trips assist in broadening our global perspective, allows us to encourage our brothers and sisters around the world, and exposes us to the realities of the lost world around us. I would urge every church to encourage the doctors, businessmen, homemakers, and high school students in their congregation to consider giving up one week a year to minister in a cross-cultural context.
Another avenue that is gaining interest is the idea of mid-term missions (2 months to 2 years). Often, after being on 2-3 short-term trips people are eager to spend more time ministering cross-culturally. Mid-term allows a college student, a schoolteacher, or a retired couple to take a summer, a semester, a year, or two and devote their lives to global disciple-making. Some have described mid-term as the “mormonization of the evangelical church.” Many think mid-term is only for young people, but I would argue that mid-term is also ideal for retired folks in their late 50’s and 60’s who want to use their wisdom and resources to serve Christ around the world.
Lastly, we need to continue to pray, call out, and send long-term disciple-makers. In many unreached places, it takes many years to be able to adapt to the culture, grasp the language, and to be able to communicate the gospel effectively. Global disciple-making is not an overnight, one week, or two year activity. It takes decades, centuries, and in some cases thousands of years to see the gospel firmly rooted among a people, disciples formed, and churches planted. This is a long and enduring work and the need for people to commit their lives long-term is great. It is my prayer that more churches will carefully think through how they can most effectively send people out for the sake of Christ among the nations.
In the past Baptist21 has let our readers know about a church-planting network in NC called PlantNC. It is their mission to be a network of churches, pastors, leaders and planters whose mission is to make disciples through the planting of gospel centered churches. So, in order to carry out that mission PlantNC has an exciting opportunity coming up that Baptist21 would like our readers to know about: Porterbrook NC Training
Recommendations for Porterbrook:
Tim Keller “The Porterbrook Network is an innovative resource that offers affordable, high quality training for mission and ministry in the 21st century. I warmly recommend it.”
Alan Hirsch “Porterbrook? Do it!”
Note from B21: We are excited to announce that the author of this post, Paul, is a new B21 contributor. Paul serves on staff at the Church at Brook Hills. Paul and his family just returned from serving the Lord in a context overseas that was primarily Muslim. He will release two blogs over the next few days that have been influenced from his time spent overseas and conversations with Brook Hills Global Disciple Making Pastor Jonathan B and Lead Pastor David Platt. Please welcome Paul to the B21 team.
The Church is the primary agent ordained by God to accomplish the Great Commission. Yet, after 2000 years, many churches neglect this fundamental truth. For many churches today, global mission is something that happens once a year, sometime between VBS and the youth summer camp. It seems that the local church hasn’t always lived up to the example that we see in the book of Acts. Obviously, there is no perfect church that has it all figured out. What I want to do is begin a conversation that helps us think through how the church can most effectively proclaim the gospel, make disciples, and plant churches for the glory of God in all nations.
Unfortunately, many churches today have decided to pass off their role in the Great Commission to mission organizations and campus ministries. Engaging unreached people groups, training missionaries, and sending them out is something many churches allow the IMB, Campus Crusade, and the North American mission board to do. And as helpful as those organizations can be in serving the church toward her mission, my fear is that we have decided that the responsibility is not ours and have passed it off to these Para church organizations. I am convinced that this strategy is not good enough for the church of Jesus Christ.
All churches have been given one mission, “Make disciples of all nations…” (Matt. 28). The word “nations” is best understood as ethno-linguistic peoples, not geo-political nations, but people groups with their own language and culture. The church has one central mission and that is to make disciples among all people groups. We are not commanded to build buildings, start choirs, or have the most dynamic children’s ministry. We are called, commissioned, and commanded to make disciples and that command is global in scope (“all nations”).
We have one mission, but we strive to accomplish that one mission in two contexts. First, we strive to make disciples in “reached” contexts. Reached contexts are areas around the world where the church already exists. Our primary role in reached contexts is to help strengthen the existing church. In the book of Acts, Paul and Barnabas are described as returning to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch and “strengthening” the souls of the disciples (Acts 14:22). Based on that text and others in Acts (15:32, 41; 18:23) the role of the church in reached contexts is primarily to help strengthen the existing churches.
Second, we also strive to make disciples in “unreached” contexts. Unreached contexts are areas around the world where the church does not yet exist. Our primary role in unreached contexts is to help establish and plant the church. In the book of Acts and Romans, the apostle Paul is regularly taking the gospel into unchartered territory and laboring to help establish the church (Acts 13-22 and Romans 15:20-24). Currently, in our world, there are many areas where the church does not yet exist. There is much work to be done in the unreached contexts.
The majority of local churches are involved in global mission in the reached contexts. That is good. We need to continue to go to those areas and help strengthen the existing churches and assist them in making disciples, caring for the poor, widows, and orphans. At the same time, more churches need to place a higher emphasis on the unreached areas and people groups around the globe. The church does not exist or is very weak among the Tajik’s (Tajikistan/Afghanistan), Yemini Arabs (Yemen), Somali (Kenya/Ethiopia/Somalia), and Malay (Malaysia). It is not enough to shuttle a group of people to Central America once a year, build some houses, and say that we are doing global missions. Fulfilling the Great Commission involves evangelism, disciple making, and church planting. This is a mandate that involves every Christian, and every Church, for 365 days a year. There is one mission, but we strive to accomplish this mission in two different contexts. Let’s get active in strengthening and establishing the church for the glory of God among all nations!
B21 will host a panel discussion at the Advance the Church Regional being held in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The panel will be a part of the conference itself, so you will need to register for ATC conference to attend the panel. The title of this conference is “The Supremacy of Christ in the Local Church.” The title of the B21 panel will be “Relevant: Should we do that in Church?” (there is more info below on the B21 Panel).
From the Advance Website: We’ve invited a host of qualified preachers and teachers to speak about the supremacy of Christ in the local church. The main session speakers will be preaching from the book of Colossians with a final message delivered on the “The Supremacy of Christ Among the Nations” by David Platt.
Where: Temple Baptist Church (West Campus) 5220 Old Highway 11 Hattiesburg, MS, 39402
When: Feb. 28 and March 1 (Check out the Schedule)
Speakers (check out Speaker’s bios)
Cost: $20 for students/$40 for everyone else
Topic: Relevant: Should we do that in Church?
Time: Monday, February 28th at 5pm
Speakers: David Platt, Russell Moore, Tony Merida, JD Greear, Jim Shaddix, and Tyler Jones
- Do we have to sacrifice being relevant to be faithful or vice versa?
- Do I have to go to “church” to be a Christian?
- Is it true that we are the church?
- How should we go about determining what we do in corporate worship? For instance, should we congregationally sing “secular” songs?
- What’s the deal with spontaneous baptisms?
- What should our main focus be in corporate worship?
- Is corporate worship for believers or non-believers? Should every sermon be evangelistic?
- Should churches exercise corporate church discipline and should a church go about instituting that?
- Topical vs. Book series?
- Technological pros and cons?
- Is small group necessary or just attendance of corporate worship?
- How much should a church “cater” to their members and how much should they intentionally avoid this to send their people out?
- What should you bring about change in a church when they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing in church?
- As those who hold to a strong local autonomy, how should we think about the Universal Church?
REMEMBER TO REGISTER FOR THE ATC CONFERENCE TO BE A PART OF THE B21 PANEL
B21 would like to make our reader’s aware of the 25th annual Pastor’s Conference at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. This year’s conference is built around the topic of “Endurance.” FBC Jax has done a great job in putting together a diverse group of speakers. B21 is thankful for the leadership of Mac Brunson and his son Trey in developing this conference.
When: Jan. 28-Feb. 1
Where: First Baptist Jacksonville, Fl.
In Addition to the main conference, FBC JAX is hosting a conference for church planters – for information click here
Not only will attendees be blessed by our sessions and speakers, but we also provide each attendee with the following: -Several “take home” items to help them replicate what they learn at our conference (i.e., books, sermons, art files for sermon series, magazines, etc.) - All session outlines and handouts available (post-conference, online) - The opportunity for a one-on-one counseling session through our Counseling Ministry and Pastoral staff, available for free upon request - FREE child care (birth – Kindergarten) to provide ministry families an opportunity to rest and re-energize - Financial assistance for those who cannot afford to attend the conference. We offer scholarships as well as free housing to ensure that if a pastor is facing financial difficulties we have an opportunity to help and bless him in his ministry
Switch to our mobile site