Go, not come
I went to a training this past week near Chicago that was based on a Church planting movement that is doing amazing things all over the world. While there I was reintroduced to the Great Commission. Just as a quick reminder here is the Great Commission:
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
I have probably read this a bunch of times and yet the way it was presented to me at this conference smacked me right in the face. One of the presenters pointed out three parts to the Great Commission and he believes that these three things are at the core of what makes the commission so great. He said the three parts are:
1. Go – Jesus didn’t say make the people come and then make them disciples, he said go to them. Too often churches only invite people to them and don’t spend a lot of time going to the people. If we spend our time going then people will start coming to our churches more and more importantly their eternal lives will be forever changed.
2. Everyone – Jesus said go to all nations, not just the nations that were wealthy or strong or attractive. He said go to all nations and baptize them. Haven’t we all decided not to witness to someone for some reason or another?
3. Disciple – We aren’t supposed to witness to them and then leave them to fend for themselves, we are to disciple them and bring them closer to God through teaching. I remember going on a missions trip when I was younger and we claimed to have “saved” a specific number of people. I kept thinking to myself, that’s great, but what did we do for them now that we are gone? Did we set them up with a church? With other Christians? Did we do anything? We definitely could have done some of those things, but I knew at the age of 14 that we should be doing that. Why is it that people forget that once they are adults?
If we stay where we are, if we are selective about who we talk to and if we leave new Christians to fend for themselves then we have not fulfilled the commission that Jesus himself told us to fulfill. Let’s change the way we think about witnessing to people and really start changing this world.