We must missionally move beyond evangelism to ‘make disciples’ of the surrounding nations. My fear is that often the Great Commission gets shortchanged when our outreach is only about width and we play evang-elastic number games. It must also be about depth and present the demands of Christian discipleship. The Gospel is integrated and wholistic. It touches and transforms every part of the human being. Jesus’ vision and mission method must be understood in terms of Biblical truth and undertaken within local contextual realities
A good training philosophy measures efficiency and progress. I invite believers to consider the following focus principles I’ve learnt, from HI and using at OTAN, to implement in expediting the Great Commission:
1. Concentrate on the unevangelized: Our ‘outreach’ must target the ‘unreached’. Be passionate yet culturally sensitive. Ask questions of truth, relevance and application.
2. Teach the Biblical ‘why’; stress the ‘how’ of fulfilling the Great Commission: offer hands-on-training, avoid peripheral issues; remember it’s about God’s light and fire.
3. Work through the local church: Jesus promised to build His church so with this high view, learn to respect denominational differences yet be intro-church not para-church.
4. Use indigenous methods to develop native resources: don’t generate dependency train to ‘catch fish’ in the natural, best way, then assist nationals to find their own ponds!
5. Start from within; Begin at the top: Everything rises or falls on leadership. Target and train key leaders, go for quality and constantly affirm homegrown leadership: create a sense of belonging, give responsibility, cultivate ownership and teach stewardship.
6. Advance whole-life discipleship skills: develop character, spiritual disciplines and an integrated approach including social action to show how the Gospel makes a difference.
7. Totally depend on the Holy Spirit to set a Christlike example at home and work. Foster godly fellowship, stay accountable and balance the Word of truth with the Spirit of grace. Always bear in mind without Christ’s empowering presence we can do nothing!
Certainly, with respect to the Great Commission, the main thing is to keep the main thing as the main thing. The Church-in-mission must make this paradigm shift: be radial (back to roots), be open to change and be God’s best. As a learning community, let’s think globally and act locally, employing this multiplier effect. Don’t spend resources, time and efforts, ‘invest’ and ‘multiply’ them! Jesus demonstrated and always intended our outreach be exponential: teach each believer how to reach others in short, train trainers!