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6 Ways To Tell If The Great Commission Has collapsed At Your Church.

10 April 2012 No Comment

The original missions mandate of Jesus, as expressed in His five Great Commission announcements, was to evangelise the world. So, what’s ‘evangelism?’

To evangelise, is spread or proclaim the gospel. So what’s ‘the gospel’?

The gospel has three aspects: words, works, and effects.

Most churches are currently focussing on the works of the gospel (i.e. good works), leaving out the words.  To evangelise is to use words.  The original mandate had this in mind – that every person on the face of the earth would hear and understand the words of the gospel at least once.  Currently, only 2% of the Church are evangelising.  In other words, the Great Commission has collapsed in most churches in the West.

So, how can you tell if your church is one of them? There are six ways to tell, and here they are:

  1. The pastor rarely mentions his/her personal evangelism exploits in his/her sermons.
  2. The pastor doesn’t regularly exhort the people in his/her church to do evangelism.
  3. There is no individual or group of people in the church who have been set aside, profiled, funded, or honoured in the church to ‘grow evangelism’ in the church.
  4. There is no accountability in the church with respect to evangelism. i.e. no one would know whether anyone is doing it or not.
  5. There is nothing in the strategic plan of the church to evangelise the town/suburb in which the church sits (i.e. its Jersusalem). Jesus specifically said ‘Make a priority of evangelising your Jerusalem first’ (Acts 1:8)
  6. There is no on-going strategy in the strategic plan of the church to motivate and equip all the members of the congregation to personally and regularly engage in evangelism. This is different from inviting people to a program like Alpha. When we invite people to Alpha, we are not personally doing the evangelism. We watch Nicky Gumbel do it.  There is nothing wrong with this. It’s just that Jesus’ commanded all Christians to personally evangelise. So anything short of this is limiting the Great Commission, a bit like trying to drive a car with a flat tire. The car will only limp along because it’s being limited by the flat tire.

How does your church fair? What does your church score out of six?

If your church scored less that six, what can you do? There are many things. Determine to be part of the solution. Don’t sit back and criticise your leader.

First, understand that it was Jesus’ intention that the The Great Commission be the centre piece of every true Christian Church.   It’s the priority of His will. And given it’s the priority, at the end of life we’ll be judged according to the extent to which we did it.(Matthew 7:21-27).

Second, understand that many churches in the West are unaware that they have moved a long way from the original mandate of Jesus.  Once aware, significant change for these churches will be inevitable. Help your leadership become aware of the crisis.  Send them this blog, for example.

Third, pray for your leaders and talk to them. Go and sit with them and talk about the issue of the Great Commission. Since people in churches follow the example of their leaders, leaders must be the first to personally embrace change. Once embraced, they will position themselves to take their congregations with them.

When you meet with them, ask them: “Will you deliberately plan for evangelism to take centre stage in your own life and the life of our church, marking a return to the Early Church pattern? Are you as our leader prepared to focus afresh on Jesus’ Great Commission? And help our church focus afresh on this? If  ‘yes’, a culture of evangelism will quickly establish in your church, and the favour of God will manifest, as it did in Acts (e.g. Acts 4:31-33).

If your leaders says ‘no’ to these questions,  a return to the mandate will be impossible. End of story.  Ultimately, the collapse of evangelism in the West is a leadership issue. Leadership choice will determine congregational outcomes. As someone once said “leadership is the problem, and leadership is the solution.” Your leader will lead you in or out of the Great Commission.

Ask you leaders if they would be willing to carefully and deliberately plan to make the Great Commission central again in your church.

After going to your leader and praying for them, what’s next? Start doing evangelism yourself. Lead by example.

And oh, there is one more thing you can do to help your leadership in a very practical way. Please download the this document and follow what it says to do.



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