Becoming Great Commission People

great commission people

Every church member can be a missionary to their hurting community. Here is how you can equip them.

As the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve 2019, the world looked on with anticipation for a new decade and year ahead. A pandemic, political polarization, and a populace split splintered the hopes and dreams of many with a bang. With the advent of 2020, the clarity that many longed for was clouded. As major cities erupted in riots and protests related to police brutality and differences stoked by political and community leaders, where was the church? Many were closed for months, and restrictive mask mandates seemed to choke out the presence of God as churches labored to find common ground amongst all the turmoil. It was in this season of darkness that God’s light began to shine brighter. 

As the world outside the church walls began to groan with differences, the church inside the walls started to awaken to the needs around them. She began to see the need to connect more deeply with each other and with the community crying out for help. Far too many churches had become social clubs who maintained the workings of the church to fit the best interest of themselves rather than the neighborhood around the church property. 

This uncertain season of strife forced the church to look outside at the needs around them as the numbers inside began to wane. The crisis that pounded like a beating drum against the psyche of the church’s soul could not be ignored any longer. A change had come to the community of faith, and the question that had to be asked: Was the church willing to change or adapt its mission to reach the broken community around them or ignore the plight and slowly die from a lack of attendance?

It would only be through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that the church would reconnect to the community in such a transformational and missional way that would help save them (the community and church) both.

Expanding the Kingdom into the Wider Community

As the world seemed to be cratering into a social civil war, the local church had a choice. To either join the fight for whatever side they felt pulled towards or see Christ amid the darkness. A missional-focused church sought the broader mission of Christ and joined hands with those who were hurting and began to love like never before the community around them. While differences were present, the presence of God guiding the process enabled bridges to be built where once wide gaps laid. It has been said that love can overcome many sins, and when the local church is leading out of love, they live as great commission people. 

Outside of your church doors today is a community waiting to be embraced with the love of Christ. Explore where the community needs are located and go there. Bring what you and others have found in examining the community needs. Share them on a whiteboard, a piece of paper, or in an open meeting where ideas and conversations of those needs are addressed and prayed over. You do not have to reinvent the spiritual wheel; all you have is to have the will to see where God is at work and go there. 

As the meeting concludes, let me challenge you to keep the conversation going so that the church does not fall into missional ineffectiveness. As the mission ideas have been captured, it is time to develop a plan to become missionally engaged. 

Every Church Attendee a Missionary

From the pastor to the pew, everyone has the potential to be a missionary for God. I use the word potential because it is a choice. Sadly, many inactive churchgoers want to attend church but do not want to live out what they are learning. As everyone is a called missionary that disobedience must grieve God. While some may ignore or outright reject the call on their lives, as a leader in the church, you have an obligation to develop a workable plan to share the vision, design training, then activate and deploy the missionary forces into the community.

Share the vision:

1. Consider the specific needs that the church desires to focus on within the community.

2. Find three to six nonprofit agencies that are diverse in what they do and need volunteers.

3. Once those partnerships are secured, have a night where each of the agencies comes to share with your lay missionaries so that they can learn firsthand the needs, what they might be doing, and how their investment will make a difference. 

Develop training: 

1. Set up training times as your lay missionaries express a willingness to invest time with a particular agency. 

2. The outside agency should handle these training times and include fellowship, team building, and knowledge-skill building to encourage a strong working relationship between the lay missionary and the community agency. 

Activate missionary forces

1. The Sunday morning before the lay missionaries enter the community, host a sending service to celebrate what God is getting ready to do through the church. Think about bringing in a special speaker who will challenge everyone in the congregation to step out of their comfort zone and be Jesus in the community. 

2. Pray over the team members.

3. Host a celebratory dinner on the grounds. Find creative ways to decorate through international flags, special music, and food from around the world. 

While your lay missionaries will not be traveling far, use the sending service to send a subtle message to your church members that the church is invested in others locally and around the world.   

God is moving in the life of the church and her community today. When the church comes outside her walls and begins to serve the community like never before, lives are changed, and the community will become better for it. 

From Outreach Magazine  Where Is the Front Line of God's Mission? Look out Your Window