Home > Devotionals, General Posts, Social Commentary > Cultivating a Great Commission Atmosphere in Your Church

Cultivating a Great Commission Atmosphere in Your Church

  • Work to cultivate a Great Commission atmosphere that is contagious in your church and that 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.

As you radically pursue the Great Commission personally, you will want others to join you. Even the apostle Paul did not work alone, but he had numerous coworkers. The whole Philippian church partnered with Paul “in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (Philippians 1:7). Indeed, they were “engaged in the same conflict [of sharing the gospel in the face of conflict] that you saw I had and now hear that I still have” (v. 30). In addition to the Philippian church, Paul mentions many individual “fellow workers” in his letters, including Priscilla, Aquila, Urbanus, and Timothy (in Romans 16); Epaphroditus and Clement (in Philippians 2 and 4, respectively); and Philemon, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas [though he would later apostatize; cf. 2 Timothy 4:10-11], and Luke (in Philemon). For Paul the apostle, inspired directly by the Holy Spirit, to have so many fellow workers, so much more should we 2000 years later partner with others in gospel work and Great Commission living!

Your local church is the best (and biblical) place for you to partner with other Christians “to cultivate a Great Commission atmosphere … in your church” and to ultimately live out the Great Commission by going and making disciples by baptizing new converts and teaching them from Scripture (Matthew 28:18-20). Indeed, the writer of Hebrews writes of the importance of church fellowship in Hebrews 10:23-25.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

The GCTF gives five ways to “cultivate a Great Commission atmosphere … in your church.”

Be Aware!

First, “strengthen missions education in your church. Help make every believer aware of the global missions challenge.” According to their report, 92 million people are lost on the West Coast and neighboring states. In the Northeast, 46 million are lost. Worldwide, 4 billion people have never even heard the gospel (and thus are definitely lost)! Surely this vast lostness must break our hearts as born-again Christians!? Surely our collective (un-)Christian apathy stems from ignorance of this? For our hearts to be broken to the point of action (for if we truly care about others’ lostness, we will act to remedy it by spreading the gospel!), we must first realize just how serious the “global missions challenge” really is, both in North America and around the world.

Ninety percent of the world—5,940,000,000 people—are lost, without Christ, and stand self-condemned to hell! Their only hope is Christ, but how “will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching [that is, sharing the gospel]?” (Romans 10:14). We must “help make every believer,” starting with ourselves, “aware of the global missions challenge,” that literally billions of people will go to hell if they do not believe the gospel—and they will not believe the gospel unless God’s Spirit enables them after they have heard it through our preaching.

Act!

Second, “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.” I spoke briefly of giving sacrificially in my last post (and I preached on giving in a recent sermon), but it bears mentioning again from a different angle. Not all of us can go on mission trips around the world. Not all of us are called to be missionaries (Ephesians 4:11), but all of us can give toward the missionaries’ work. And we should give sacrificially and joyfully—“for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

If you long to go on a mission trip, you can choose to give sacrificially not only monetarily (many short-term foreign mission trips total upwards of $2000 or even more) but also to give sacrificially of your time and talents. Short-term foreign mission trips require sacrifice—financially, of time, and of talent. God bless you if you feel a desire to share the gospel in a short-term mission trip; may God bless you in that ministry!

Perhaps, though, you feel even further called; you may feel called to be a full-time missionary—either domestic or international. If you feel that calling, I would wholly recommend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as the best Bible-based and Bible-teaching seminary in the world. Southern Baptists, I know, have organized mission boards—the NAMB and the IMB. Or perhaps you are blessed to be the member of a church who has its own specific missionary ministry. In any case, the resources I can refer you to are few, but may God bless you as you pursue that calling!

Encourage!

Thirdly, “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.” The lack of gospel-centered preaching and teaching is appalling in so many churches today. Many of us are confused about the gospel. (For the most helpful way I’ve found to think about the gospel [much thanks to Mark Dever], see my posts on the gospel.) So when your pastor or a Bible study teacher has a particularly gospel-centered preaching, be sure to thank them (and God!) for being so gospel-centered. (And just for those of you who prefer to say Christ-centered, I use it interchangeably with gospel-centered, since the gospel is about Christ.)

Affirm!

Fourthly, “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.” Affirm the calling of evangelists and missionaries “who give their lives to the cause of the gospel.” God calls missionaries and evangelists, but the Church is tasked with affirming that calling. Your church must be intentional about whom it does and does not affirm as an evangelist or missionary. Affirm those who are humble and able to teach—affirm those who are willing to give their whole lives for the gospel, even after counting the cost of doing so.

Pass It On!

Finally, “give particular attention to the evangelizing and discipling of children and youth.” 2 Timothy 2:2 establishes the gospel succession: Paul gave the gospel to Timothy, who would give it “to faithful men,” who would then “teach others also.” We are among the “others.” All Christians should pay careful heed to evangelize and disciple children and youth—the future Christian leaders and the teachers of the generation after them. My generation, commonly called millennials (those born after 1990) are the least-churched generation yet. Each local church must reach out to children and youth as it regains the Biblical gospel so that this gospel will not be confused—or outright lost—in future generations. Ultimately, though, as it has been stressed in an earlier post, the parents bear the primary responsibility for evangelizing and discipling their children, but the church must help parents do so by supplying them with the teaching, support, and resources necessary.

In conclusion, in cultivating a Great Commission atmosphere in our churches, we must become aware of the lostness around us; act on that awareness; encourage our pastors and teachers as they faithfully preach and teach the gospel; affirm the calling of evangelists and missionaries; and pass the gospel on to future generations by evangelizing and discipling children and youth (particularly those who are unchurched). Live out the Great Commission; and as you live it out, prayerfully work (as you rely on God) to cultivate a similar attitude in your local churches.

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