Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
In my last post, www.internationalfishers.com/blog/build-the-wall, I wrote that most Christians are standing on the sidelines when it came to the Great Commission. According to Barna research group, only 17% of churchgoers have even heard of the Great Commission and knows what it means. Fifty-one percent have not even heard of the Great Commission. In this post, I will discuss some of the reasons why so few churchgoers understand, much less are actively engaged in, the Great Commission.
1. Christians are not being equipped for the work of ministry.
"For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," Ephesians 4:12
In too many churches, many people attend church to be "fed"=encouraged, helped, inspired, comforted, and/or entertained. As a result many people who attend churches are merely consumers. They contribute nothing beyond possibly contributing some finances (like tipping an entertainer). These people do not encourage, help, inspire, or comfort others. Church leaders who minister to these people have to be careful that they do not become performers/entertainers. Instead, according to Ephesians 4:12, church leaders should be coaches. For more on this see www.internationalfishers.com/blog/church-services-should-be-a-lot-like-locker-roomsbut-without-the-bad-smell.
2. Christians mistakenly see the Great Commission as for other countries only.
"And Jesus came 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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I amwith you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen." Matthew 28: 18-20. Whenever the Great Commission is (too rarely) mentioned, it is often accompanied by flags and maps of other countries. As a result, people see the Great Commission as irrelevant or foreign. Perhaps we should also hang up (at least in our minds) a tablecloth from our kitchen table and a map of our own neighborhood too because the Great Commission's "all nations" or "all the world" begins with those around our kitchen table, our neighborhood, schools, and workplaces and then extends to the ends of the earth as well. There is no option given in Scripture to either reach your local community or the ends of the earth (as far as you can reach). The requirement to go to "all nations" means both here and there. Traditional missionaries go, adapt to, and minister to places where others cannot go. They are your representatives. For more on this see www.internationalfishers.com/eternal-impact/i-went-so-that-you-could-stay-you-stay-so-that-i-can-go .
3. Christians mistakenly see the Great Commission as an optional/extra credit assignment. This is result of a combination of #1 and #2 above. Christians often think that the Great Commission is only the responsibility of the missionaries and perhaps the pastors and mission agencies. They fail realize that just as without fuel pilots are only pedestrians, missionaries cannot go to the ends of the earth and make disciples cross-culturally without sufficient financial, prayer, spiritual, emotional, and practical partnership/support before they go, during their mission terms, and during their times in their home countries. Returning missionaries also need partnership too so that they can re-integrate into the church and "regular" life smoothly. For more on the hearts and ministries of those who stay behind please visit www.internationalfishers.com/eternal-impact/we-stayed-so-that-others-could-go-a-missionarys-tribute-to-those-who-stay-behind .
The truth is that the Great Commission is a commandment for every Christian whether they are vocational Christian workers or not. Every Christian is called to be a missionary to their own family, friends, school, workplace, and community. Every Christian is in some way, called to be involved in world missions whether as a missionary or as senders (financially, prayerfully, emotionally, and/or practically). Missionaries are not "holy homeless" or "Bible beggars". Instead, they (we) are Great Commission Business Partners with you. We go so that you can stay. When we can no longer be missionaries, God may call you to switch places with us on the front lines of the mission field.
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).