The highlight of my outreaches this year was the invite to participate in the Balkan World Mission Conference held at Macedonia. The key outcome of Ravi Zacharias and my ministry here, was the production of a ‘Mission Manifesto’ that clearly revealed how God had changed the ‘Come over and help us’ mentality into the ‘Go into all the world’ mandate
Our Balkan ‘brothers and sisters’, today are taking missions seriously, even obeying the call to go to India! Yes, we need to work hard, work long, work smart but importantly work right! I’ve learnt some things from Colonial and US Missions in the past that I’d like to share.
Some 20 years ago, I was doing evangelism, preaching, planting and pastoring a church and researching. One of my mentors, hearing my goal ‘to reach India for Christ’, enquired how I planned to do that? I glibly responded with the two buzz phrases: ‘plant churches’ and ‘fulfill the Great Commission’. Being a strategist, he popped a question that changed my whole view of Christian missions: ‘And, how many more churches could you plant before you reached the 1 billion in India?’ This was my ‘moment of truth’ for missions!
Jesus’ mandate at the end of training ‘the Twelve’ was that his followers go to the nations and ‘make disciples’ (the only imperative verb in Matt. 28:19-20). The participles clarify the way we do this: evangelize the lost, baptize believers and stabilize them, how? No, not by ‘teaching’, least we forget the two most important, two syllabus words within it – teaching them ‘to do’ all Jesus commanded. It is only as we go to unreached nations to disciple them we will realize ‘Lo!’ his Spirit’s presence, power and providence with us!
I now realize the omission in ‘the Great Commission’ and why it is not being expedited! Beyond sharing the gospel (evangelism) a needful starting point, and teaching (education) what Jesus’ said about the kingdom, our specific task is training (equipping) i.e. showing believers how to follow Jesus! It is reproducing ourselves in their lives and ensuring that they have the tools to teach others ‘to do’ the same (2Tim 2:2)!
Training excites, shapes, and directs minds. It involves communicating the Truth (logos), developing competencies to create moral culture (ethos) and forming Christlike character (pathos). World missions can become a reality only if the Church, as the agent of Jesus’ mandate, trains trainers!