Great Commission Christians, in Great Commission churches, transforming communities with the Gospel.
I am starting to see and say that mission statement in my sleep.
And, I hope that statement and a thorough understanding of that statement will become a permanent part of your psyche as well. When all of us “live and breathe” that mission statement, we will have become genuine Great Commission Christians, in Great Commission churches, transforming communities with the Gospel.
But how will that happen?
I could write several Pathway articles focusing on what it means to be Great Commission Christians, in Great Commission churches, transforming communities with the Gospel. But will that make it come to pass?
I could explain it over and over again. But will the explanation of the statement cause us to actually become Great Commission Christians, in Great Commission churches, transforming communities with the Gospel?
If I say it, or write it, often enough it might become the reflex statement of many Missou,ri Baptists. But would that make it happen? Just because we are able to repeat the mission statement, would that make us truly become Great Commission Christians, in Great Commission churches, transforming communities with the Gospel?
You know the answers to all of those questions.
But, illustrating the mission statement is not the same as implementation of the statement.
Matthew 28:19-20 illustrates the statement: Great Commission Christians are believers who “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” And, those Great Commission Christians gather in Great Commission churches where disciples are “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Transforming communities occurs when the church is involved in “… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” But, the church does not go alone. We go with the Gospel of Jesus Christ “… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The Great Commission illustrates our mission statement.
Matthew 9:31 describes the necessary elements of implementation of the statement: “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” What will be required for Missouri Baptist churches to genuinely become Great Commission Christians, in Great Commission churches, transforming communities with the Gospel?
RESTORING Fellowship. What if the churches throughout Missouri—from St. Louis to Kansas City; from the bootheel to the northwest corner of the state; from Hannibal to Barry county—what if the churches of the Missouri Baptist Convention genuinely “… had peace?” I wonder what would happen if the Baptist churches of Missouri came together as people with one message, the message of the Word of God; one mission, the Great Commission; and, one method, the cooperative method of doing missions and ministry. Rather than complain about the number of people required to reach one person for Christ—why not celebrate a number of Missouri Baptists coming together to reach the world for Christ? A fractured church will not be effective in your community. We must restore fellowship.
REBUILDING the Body of Christ. Once the churches in Judea, Galilee and Samaria were living in peace, they also “… were edified.” The term is translated from the Greek word “oikodomeo” which is literally translated “to build” or “to build up.” The New Century Version of the Bible employs the phrase “… become stronger.” The Holman Christian Standard Version renders the phrase “… being built up.” In the New International Version, the expression is “… was strengthened.” That verse clearly is describing a church that is very active in the work of the Lord. In fact, so active in the work of the Lord, and so focused on the will of God for the church—time does not allow the members of that church to get out of sorts with each other. As we rebuild the Body, fellowship is restored.
RIGHTEOUS Living. The verse describes the church as “… walking in the fear of the Lord.” Recall also that we described Great Commission Christians and Great Commission churches as individual Christians and churches who are “… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” I am convinced that the lost world is looking for a saved church. And, that a saved church resembles the Savior. People, who are legitimately and effectively involved in transforming communities, are first personally transformed through the power of God.
RESTING in the Holy Spirit. By now, you have surely noted that a progression is taking place in Acts 9:31. Missouri Baptists who are restoring fellowship are also involved in rebuilding the Body of Christ. Those same Christians and Christian churches are living righteously. And all of that is the result of resting in the Spirit of God. The verse says simply “…walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” And the result is clear.
REACHING People. “… They were multiplied.” When the church is, in fact, restoring fellowship, rebuilding the Body of Christ, involved in righteous living and resting in the Holy Spirit—we will, indeed, be reaching people.
And, when that is the case we will have become Great Commission Christians, in Great Commission churches, transforming communities with the Gospel.