Whatever one thinks of these numbers, one thing is clear: despite 225 years of Protestant missionary advance, the world is still largely unevangelized...
NOT EVERYTHING CALLED MISSIONS IS MISSIONS. My understanding of missionary work is formed by the Book of Acts. The clear pattern there is evangelism, discipleship, establishing churches, and training pastors / elders. When I came to my present pastorate I studied the list of supported missionaries and discovered that of 16 entities only two were on this program...
Your job is to evangelize, disciple, plant churches, train leaders for those churches, and then repeat. We have no control over the job description and we dare not tamper with it. It’s God’s master plan and the only one that works. Expectations are another thing altogether.... We as your supporting churches don’t think our expectations are unrealistic, but neither do we want you ignorant of our expectations. That’s where relationships break down.
For the most part, church members do not engage in the great commission at a personal level but rather by contributing resources so that the corporate body can send out a “Great Commission Expert” (missionary) to do it for them. However, this is a far cry from what the Lord intended when He issued the Commission.
Modern believers have convinced themselves that spiritual maturity is based on information and that it takes a long time. However, if one follows the New Testament pattern, mature disciples were made in short order. They were tested by persecution and stood! The secret was the absolute insistence on personal obedience to the demands and expectations of Scripture. This is the forgotten side of the Great Commission in many churches today.
Many contemporary approaches to the Great Commission have focused on the Lord’s instruction to go to all nations. In other words, for them, the dominant responsibility of the commission is to go to the nations. However, the grammar of the Lord’s statement makes clear that the central imperative of the Commission is the making of disciples. That central imperative will be accomplished by three accompanying activities – going, baptizing, and teaching.
Matthew’s Great Commission is deeply rooted in broader theological soil than only recruiting disciples from all the nations for Messiah’s future kingdom. Those roots extend in at least four directions.
By our example and teaching, we desire to cultivate a love for God's Word and the understanding that it stands far above all else. For us in America, this is often fleshed out as "Scriptural Truth over Psychology." For the Third World citizen, this could very well be fleshed out as "Scriptural Truth over Indigenous Spirit Beliefs." What is important is the heart assuring belief and trust in the sufficiency of Scripture.
During the recent IBMGlobal Candidate Conference, Larry Clouse, the Director of IBMGlobal, shared the practical steps he used to plant churches in the South Pacific and in New England.
IBMGlobal is pleased to announce that Steve Stadtmiller has accepted the position of Candidate Secretary and Europe Field Director. Read Steve & Etta's bio and ministry plans here.
We hadn’t meant to fall in love with this church plant; we’d meant to come to Denver, get some church planting experience and leave for the mission field a year later. God’s way was different, and the first thing that our new pastors did was slow us down. Actually, they told us we weren’t ready three different times. Those delays were critical for the development that we needed, but they were hard. First, the pastors invited me to become a pastoral intern so that I could be developed in leading a church and then be sent out as a pastor if God wanted me to plant churches.
The... next time you visit Africa with your camera and take pictures of a congregation in any of our African townships or villages, easily divide the attendance by a quarter in order to arrive at the regular attendance of that church.
When we look in the New Testament, we see the ordinary practice of ordinary Christians planting ordinary churches.
The Church Planter's goal in leadership development is to see God-exalting independent Baptist churches with trained national leadership. This outcome is not realized by chance. The church planter must demonstrate openness, communicate, and have the humility to give and receive correction and criticism. (Phil. 2:1-18)
One mistake church planters make is not incorporating a comprehensive approach to discipleship from day 1 of the new church plant.
Richard Coekin in a brilliant article entitled Making Disciples By Planting suggests the following four things regarding the “all” statements in the Great Commission. We have copied a few excerpts below and hope that it will encourage you to read the whole article. Coekin writes: …given that making disciples is the heart of the Great Commission, the four great universals—the ‘alls’ that dominate Jesus’ words—have a direct effect upon how we plant churches to make disciples.
There is a danger that we move too quickly and put someone into leadership who is not biblically qualified because of immaturity or because they do not meet the biblical qualifications. The other extreme is equally as dangerous - to have qualified men, but never hand off.
A glimpse into the life of an incredible youth worker, Brian Dye. Brian's ministry in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago is a tangible example of living a life of discipleship.
Someone once said, “Influence like water flows downhill.” The truth of this statement has tremendous implications to the work of modern missions across Africa...
So often we from the west want to ensure that things are done in a certain way or at a certain standard, so we keep taking over from those young disciples who are trying to lead. We must allow them to make decisions, sometimes they will fail, and sometimes they will succeed extraordinarily, but if we never give our disciples opportunity for increased responsibility and leadership then we are setting them up for failure.