When Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, it was a call to every disciple to take the whole Gospel to the whole world. We should take a moment to pause and celebrate the many ways the Gospel has found receptivity in many parts of the world. In fact, the Gospel is seeing increased fruit in what is termed the Global South—non-Western churches are growing at a pace that Western churches cannot keep up with, or in some cases, fully grasp. Far too often, when the church in the West thinks about the rest of the world, she lacks creativity and insight. Church leaders in the West have no problem coming up with creative and innovative ways of doing church in their own backyard; yet when asked to engage in global missions, they default to a colonial response. The truth is, if we are honest with ourselves, we really don’t understand the world we live in and have not fully grasped the relatively new phenomenon we call globalization. Our God is a global God – so His people need to have a global vision for the Great Commission that takes seriously the nations of the world and the opportunity before us.Our God is a global God – so His people need to have a global vision for the Great Commission that takes seriously the nations of the world and the opportunity before us. Click To Tweet
I have traveled extensively engaging numerous religious leaders from every major religion in the world. In my exposure to these leaders and my fellow US pastors, I find that many churches in the West are stuck in a mindset that puts them at the center of everything God is doing. And though we use words like missional and emergent, when it comes to engaging our brothers and sisters in other nations we operate from archaic, outdated models of cultural engagement. For all of our focus on reinventing the church, perhaps we just need to get back to the basic teachings of Scripture and respond to what God has called us to do—make disciples.
It is increasingly easy for us to focus on the obstacles which present themselves in our efforts to disciple the nations—and there are many real challenges before us—yet. I feel that we often neglect to mention the opportunity of our cultural moment. Today, we have the means to do what no generation has ever done. In addition to the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, we have the internet, social media, airplanes, and the means of social presence and influence that no other generation before us have had. Think about it; for the first time in history, all the necessary elements, divine, and human are present to enable us to take the gospel to every person in our world.We have the internet, social media, airplanes, etc like no other generation before us. Think, for the 1st time in history, all the elements needed are present to enable us to take the Gospel to every person in our world. Click To Tweet
Where do we even start to reimagine the Great Commission and its implications as good stewards of what God has given us in the West? Perhaps a good place to start is asking the most elementary questions all over again. Do we really know what the Great Commission is? What would it look like if it were fulfilled? How do we go about fulfilling this alongside our global brothers and sisters? Is church planting the best way to fulfill the Great Commission? I am convinced that critical engagement around these elementary questions is a good starting point!