Challenges for Great Commission Living
On Tuesday, I posted the first post in the Great Commission Living series, which included my thoughts about the final report of the GCTF. Today, I continue the Great Commission Living series with a list of challenges for all us Christians. In the following posts about Great Commission Living, I will focus on each of these challenges more in-depth.
The GCTF challenges individual Christians to implement the following in living Gospel-saturated lives. The following list is only a sampling of what the GCTF recommends, and I have abridged some of their challenges to better fit the purposes of my blog. You can access the GCTF’s exhaustive and unabridged list of challenges for individual Christians on pp. 17-18 of the GCTF final report.
- Return to God in deep repentance of and brokenness over sin, denying self, and coming to God with complete humility.
- Commit to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of your life, understanding that Christ’s lordship is inseparable from all aspects of the believer’s life, including:
- family obligations,
- business and profession,
- and recreational or leisure pursuits.
- Devote yourself to a radical pursuit of the Great Commission in the context of obeying the Great Commandments of loving God and loving others.
- Develop strategies as an individual for praying for, serving, sharing the gospel and discipling neighbors, coworkers, and others with whom you come into regular contact.
- Bear witness to the Gospel through personal evangelism, seeing every individual as a sinner in need of the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone.
- Grow in giving as a faithful financial stewardship.
- Determine to develop (and then develop) a well-rounded Christian worldview that allows you to clearly articulate both what you believe and why you believe.
- Repent of any and all sin that has prevented you from being fully used by our Lord in fulfilling the Great Commission. This includes sins of
- idolatry, pride,
- selfish ambition,
- hatred, and racism.
The GCTF goes further, however, and also challenges families to implement certain things to increase their positive witness for the Gospel of Christ. Again, the following list is not exhaustive and has been abridged. You can access the exhaustive form of this list on pp. 18-19 of the final report, the hyperlink to which is above the list of challenges to individual Christians.
- Emphasize biblical gender roles with believing fathers taking the lead in modeling Great Commission Christianity and taking the primary responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their families.
- Recognize that parents have the primary responsibility of educating their children and helping them to cultivate a Christian worldview way of thinking and living.
- Build gospel saturated homes that see children as a gift from God and the parents’ initial mission field. Consider how the ministries of adoption and orphan care are incredible witnesses to the Gospel of Christ.
- Pray for the evangelism and discipleship of children first by their parents (and that local churches would assist these parents to do that).
- As a family, pray for, serve, and share the gospel with neighbors, coworkers, and others with whom family members come into regular contact.
In the context of the local church, the GCTF also recommends the implementation of certain practices to foster Great Commission living. (See pp. 19-22 for the complete list of challenges for pastors and local churches—I have only included challenges for local churches because I realize that most of my readership consists of laypeople, like myself.)
- Work to cultivate a Great Commission atmosphere that is contagious in your church and becomes the DNA of the pastor, staff, adults, students, youth and children of your local body of Christ.
- Strengthen missions education in your church. Help make every believer aware of the global missions challenge.
- Act on your awareness of the global missions challenge by giving sacrificially and/or by going on mission trips and/or by becoming a missionary.
- Encourage and thank your pastor and other church teachers and leaders when a sermon, devotion, or other type of teaching is particularly gospel centered, driven by the inerrant and infallible text of Scripture, and applies the text to the lives of different kinds of people.
- Honor the role of the evangelist and missionary, affirming the calling and witness of those who give their lives to the call of the gospel.
- Give particular attention to the evangelizing and discipling of children and youth.
- Enter, if possible, the world of private Christian schooling and Christian homeschooling to provide a Christian alternative to the education of children. NOTE that this is a complement—not a replacement—of those many faithful Christians who serve in public school systems as salt and light.
- Take part in one-on-one or small group discipleship.
- Reclaim a vision of regenerate church membership—which requires church discipline. (Note, for now, that both discipline and discipleship have the same root word.) This includes integration of such practices as
- decision counseling,
- believer’s baptism,
- new convert mentoring, and
- church discipline.
The GCTF concludes with challenges to larger entities and specialized groups. I will adapt some of these challenges to be applicable to us in inter-church relationships. (See pp. 22-26 for all remaining challenges directed to various Christian groups.)
- If you work with other Christians, occasionally meet during lunch or sometime to pray for the conversion of the lost and for the planting of sound churches in the underserved and unreached areas around the world.
- If you have Christian friends who aren’t members of the church of which you’re a member, meet with them occasionally to talk about your own experiences in evangelism and discipleship. Share resources with them and form a sort of bond of accountability if your friendship is deep enough for that.
- Work with fellow believers—even those who are not members of your church or who may even be in a different denomination—to support mercy ministries in your local area.
I look forward to exploring these different and encompassing aspects of Great Commission living—of gospel, Bible living—with ya’ll over the next weeks/months. These posts will be interspersed with other seemingly-unrelated articles, I’m sure, along the way. (There’s a picture and a memory from T4G that I’d love to share with ya’ll, and other things will come up as well I’m sure as we go through this series on Great Commission living.) In the meantime until my first single-specific-application post on Great Commission living, mull over this list. Perhaps God will bring to remembrance certain Scriptural principles that will give you specific ideas of how to implement any number of these things in your life. If he does, pray that He will give you the strength and grace to implement them. I look forward to continuing this series with my next post on how we can develop a proper worldview, which will provide a foundation for Great Commission living.
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