The Great Commission
Many difficulties will arise in reaching internationals for Christ. Only a strong understanding of the mandate given in the Great Commission will empower you to keep going. As a spiritual leader, it is your responsibility to pass this commitment on to others.
So, how can you best communicate the Great Commission to your disciples?
Through the Bible
- Our Lord wants us to proclaim His gospel to people of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49, Acts 1:8).
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” – Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
- Our God has always been and will always be a God of all peoples. His heart for the nations is revealed throughout the Bible, literally from Genesis to Revelation. His covenant to Abraham, written in Genesis 12:2-3, gives the first look at that heart:
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
- The same heart is conveyed in Jesus’ words to John, written in Revelation 5:9,10.
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (See also Revelation 7:9,10)
- The Psalms beautifully communicate the same theme.
Psalm 67:1-4 says, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.” (See also Psalm 96 and Psalm 98.)
Through your words
- Share your passion – Seminary professor and conference speaker Howard Hendricks has often said, “If you want others to bleed, you must hemorrhage.” It’s true–you must be deeply committed to something if you expect others to be. If you have a passion for the lost, for the world, for the Great Commission, then you will naturally be passing it on to others.
- Share your plans – How is the Great Commission reflected in the plans you make? Are you aggressively attempting to reach new people groups with the gospel? Are you satisfied with the status quo? In what ways are you getting out of your comfort zone and breaking new ground for the cause of Christ? Are you helping your students reach out to those beyond their immediate friends and family (and culture)?
- Offer encouragement – Share with your disciples a vision of how God can use them to play a key role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Plant seeds of faith and expectation which will grow in their hearts and minds over time. See them from God’s point of view and share what you see.
Through your actions
- Map the campus – Take time to scout the campus and break it into parts. Learn how students congregate. Consider the best ways to reach out to all the students. Seek to find the “gatekeepers”-the people who play a key role in reaching certain groups with the gospel.
- Demonstrate a love for the lost – Luke 19:10 makes it clear that this was Jesus’ heart, so we want to follow His example:
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Take time to study and discuss Luke 15 with your disciples. Consider the similarities among the three parables-“The Lost Sheep,” “The Lost Coin” and “The Lost Son.” And also consider the added insights that are only offered through “The Lost Son.”
Also, remember to ask about students who do not yet know Christ. Pray for them often and keep a “Most Wanted List” with your disciples.
- Do outreaches together – You and your disciples can reach out to non-believers through small, informal meals/gatherings or through larger dinners/meetings/events. Demonstrate to your disciples your heart for evangelism and the skills necessary to be effective. Take them with you every chance you get. Minister together often.
- Plan conferences and retreats – When designing major events, be sure to plan time for a “World Vision Night” or some other way to communicate our ultimate mission.
- Participate in projects and trips – There’s nothing like actually going to remote locations to experience the Great Commission. Each phase of a project offers opportunities for growth to you and your teammates-planning and preparation; support-raising; encountering a new culture; experiencing team dynamics; debriefing; going through re-entry.