Most of us would probably mention some reference to the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28:19-20. But I want us to probe beneath the surface of this anticipated response to ask a more penetrating question. If someone were to look at the budget, schedule, and priorities of your church, would they conclude that it exists primarily to complete the discipling of the nations? Just as a look at our own personal checkbooks and calendars reveals the truth about what’s really important to us, a look at our church’s organizational structure tells us where its heart is.
But let’s make it more personal. When you joined the church to which you now belong, was your first concern and priority to determine its commitment to and strategy for the completion of the Great Commission? What do you know about your church’s plan for discipling the nations? Since this is a colossal task—much too big for any one congregation—who does your church partner with to ensure that it has a comprehensive strategy? What is your personal involvement in this task? To be absolutely honest, are you more concerned about what your church does to meet your needs than what it does to disciple the nations?
Tough questions, I know. But these are monumental concerns. And though these are the kind of questions that cause many Christians to squirm and dodge and fish for excuses, we’ve got to be willing to keep asking. The stakes are too high. We need to constantly remind ourselves what matters—and to see what we’re doing about it.
So let’s head out one more time to the mountaintop summit meeting where the resurrected Lord gave His marching orders to the first-century disciples. From this text we will come face-to-face again with Christ, who alone has the authority to command His church. The question we must settle in our own hearts while we’re there is whether we are willing to join His first disciples in the challenge of discipling the nations.
Hemphill, K. (2008). Eternal impact: the passion of kingdom-centered communities. Nashville: B&H.