Keeping Our Eyes on the Mission in Divided Times

Even a cursory glance at social media during the last few months reveals the U.S. has been marked by great controversy and division. During this season, a question we should ask ourselves is, “How does the Great Commission inform our thoughts and actions?”

Sure, we find blogs, podcasts and well-meaning friends, telling us how to vote and who to support. They feed us information about current issues and interpretations of different activities. If we want to serve the Lord, however, and fulfill his mission, one question should haunt us:

What is the missionary response?

Jesus gave the Great Commission—the call to make disciples of all nations—to the entire church. He promised to be with us as we fulfill this commission—until the end of the age. This means that all Christians are responsible for making disciples of all nations in all times and places.

But how? In this swirling atmosphere, what is a Christian to do?

1. Keep Your Eye on the Goal.

If the only reason God saved us was so we could live with him forever, he could have taken us to heaven the moment we believed. But he didn’t. One reason we are here is to impact those around us for eternity.

We live on earth as citizens of a spiritual country. We cannot allow temporary goals (even important ones) to distract us from our ultimate calling. Our mission includes pointing as many people as possible to our actual home.

2. Keep the Real Enemy in Focus.

Misplacing the “enemy” tag disqualifies us from the mission. According to the Bible, our battle is not against other people; it is a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:12).

• People who disagree with us are not our enemies.

• People who are not like us (nationally or ethnically) are not our enemies.

• People who vote differently or support different candidates/parties are not our enemies.

There is an enemy, but before we place that label on someone, remember these points.

Is it possible God places these people in our lives so we can help them know him and know that he loves them deeply? At the end of this political season, our mandate to make disciples of all nations will remain. We cannot say or do anything that will disqualify us from this goal.


Remember that God’s kingdom is global but not of this world.

Our national leaders, and those seeking national office, are responsible for the protection and well-being of this country. This is a biblical mandate. We may agree or disagree with their assessment of the problems and their proposed solutions. But we must not allow the focus of politics to distract us from our overarching goal of pointing people to the kingdom of Christ.

The Great Commission pushes us to have global, and even eternal, vision. We are citizens of a country in this world. But ultimately we are also citizens—even ambassadors—of another kingdom.


Remember, we are not alone, and we are not the first Christians to have faced divisive political environments.

It seems that the theme of every campaign season is: “This is the worst it has ever been.” Unfortunately, this message creeps into our churches. Worse yet, Christians believe the political messaging and add Christian tags to the issues.

This is not only unfortunate, it betrays a lack of faith and hinders our ability to live faithfully. Remember, we are not alone. The Great Commission promises that Jesus is always with us!

Whenever we endure hardship, we can be encouraged that we are not the first nor the only Christians in history to have done so. Actually, we were born for this!

Michael Green, in his classic book Evangelism in the Early Church, notes that Christianity thrived in turbulent years. He writes:

“We cannot fail to profit from reflecting on the ways in which this tiny band of men and women in a fringe province of a far-flung Roman Empire became a world faith within a couple of generations. They must have something important to teach us about evangelism … Christianity for them was no hour’s slot on Sunday. It affected everything they did and everyone they met.”

Even now, let’s keep our heads and remember the real mandate to make disciples of Jesus of all nations and all peoples.

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This article originally appeared on and is reposted here by permission.

D. Scott Hildreth
D. Scott Hildreth

D. Scott Hildreth is the director of the Center for Great Commission Studies and Assistant Professor of Global Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Together on God’s Mission and is co-author of Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out.