Church Planting Essentials – Completing the Great Commission

Church Planting Essentials – Completing the Great Commission

This article is a response to a comment posted by The Carpenter’s Kid related to Why Denominations Cannot Complete the Great Commission.

Tim wrote:

Just curious: Statistically speaking, what does “completing the Great Commission” look like to you? Is your answer rooted in Scripture? Was Jesus always successful in disciple making? Were Jesus’ “success stats” any better than ours? As I recall, he got himself killed and said his followers would be just as popular as he. What is God’s responsibility in this whole Great Commission thing? Or is it all up to us? Is it possible that some people just don’t want our Jesus to be their Savior, regardless of how well he is presented to them? We’ve had 400 years of denominationalism … and 400 years of expert strategies to go with it. Do you really think *yours* is finally the right key to unlock the door? Or might we be seeing the great falling away that Scripture predicts, against which no seminar junkie or missional expert can successfully fight? What if we all just dragged the net as best we can and trust God with the big picture results?

My Answer:

Church Planting Essentials – Completing the Great Commission

I don’t think completing the Great Commission is a statistical event.  Obeying God is not measured in degrees.  It’s binary.  Have we obeyed – Yes or No?  Will God accept the answer, “Lord, we obeyed you 22{846ad05382285a8c201e50da365aa81ffc9921be1516c71f30ae0360243f0c8d}!”

I think it is the responsibility of individual Christians and the church and the Church to continue making Disciples until everyone who is not an Obedient Disciple of Jesus Christ has said a loud and clear, “NO!”, to becoming a Follower of Jesus Christ.  The Great Commission is not about getting to completion, it’s about striving for completion until the job is done.

Jesus’ Stats:

I’m not sure about your point regarding Jesus’ success stats.  This is not about stats.  It’s about obedience.  Jesus did His part, and continues to do His part (see John 6:43-45), and He assigned us our part.  His success is defined by himself, since He is God.  Our success is defined by Him since He is God.

But, let’s take a look at Jesus’ stats.  He started with eleven doubting followers just over 2000 years ago.  He commissioned his Disciples to go and make more Disciples and to teach them to obey everything He had commanded, which resulted in his Disciples making obedient Disciples who made obedient Disciples who… 

In 1 AD the population of the world was about 150 million (See http://desip.igc.org/populationmaps.html).  This means that when Jesus ascended Christians were statistically 0{846ad05382285a8c201e50da365aa81ffc9921be1516c71f30ae0360243f0c8d} of the world’s population.  Today, Christians of all stripes make up about 33{846ad05382285a8c201e50da365aa81ffc9921be1516c71f30ae0360243f0c8d} of the world.  This means that in 2000 years, just the Christians alive today represent about 2,875 new Believers per day for every day since Jesus founded Christianity.  I know – dumb statistic, but interesting.

But try this statistic:  If every Christian alive in the world right now made just one disciple this year, the world would be 66{846ad05382285a8c201e50da365aa81ffc9921be1516c71f30ae0360243f0c8d} Christian.  Next year, if the same happened again, we would be 100{846ad05382285a8c201e50da365aa81ffc9921be1516c71f30ae0360243f0c8d} Christian.  If we just think Evangelicals can do this, it would extend the project from 2 to 3 years.  I know – many will say, “No.”  Their response is not my responsibility.  My obedience in making Disciples is my responsibility.

My Strategy for Fulfilling the Great Commission:

My strategy to fulfill the Great commission is to be obedient to the Commands of Christ and to teach all who will listen to be obedient to the commands of Christ, even if it’s a losing fight.  So, YES, I do think that Jesus’ strategy for reaching the world will work if we are obedient.  Go and make Disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you; and everyone to listens to the Father and learns from Him will come to Jesus.  (See Matthew 28:16ff and John 6:43-45)

Big Picture Results:

The role of leadership is to exhort the people of God to obey God and to teach the people of God how to obey God, and while doing so make more leaders who will do the same.  God gave us the responsibility for the big picture results (“All Nations” is Big Picture), and we who call ourselves leaders are responsible for leading and equipping all to drag the nets.  It doesn’t just happen.  It requires leadership who are examples and who train others to be obedient and who make more leaders who will do the same, even if the fight looks hopeless.  Our obedience is not conditional base on our feelings of hope.  I won’t stop until I’m dead.  Then it will be someone else’s responsibility, especially if I have done my job of equipping the next generation of leaders.

Blessings!

David Watson
from Finland

One Reply to “Church Planting Essentials – Completing the Great Commission”

  1. Amen,

    And we must have humble faith that our intentional work will not be for nothing because of the power of the Holy Spirit working in our world. If someone has been truly obedient but seen no results yet, he need not be discouraged. Let him wait patiently and prayerfully for the Holy Spirit to complete the work he has begun as he continues to make real and specific and purposeful efforts to be obedient to the call to make more disciples. Let us not assume that those who have not had results yet are not really trying, but let’s continue to encourage them to never stop trying realizing that God will soon make their efforts successful if they are truly obeying. And if we see a success, let us not praise too highly the individual effort, but praise God without whose power and Spirit at work convicting the world of sin no effort to make a disciple would ever result in a disciple of Jesus (although they may make another type of disciple).

    Thank you David for helping all of us keep the call clear in our minds.

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