Jesus told his 500 disciples what His MASTER PLAN was in Matthew 28:19-20.
“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, 20 and TEACHING them to OBEY EVERYTHING I have commanded you.”
This is widely known as THE GREAT COMMISSION, not only because he told them what to do next, but also because he personally commissioned them to “Go” into all the world and do it.
This Great Commission was quite clear back in AD 33.
But has it lost it’s pizazz almost 2000 years since?
No matter how well each generation in The Church has grasped this mission on the earth, it seems to get misconstrued, adapted, adjusted for relevance sake.
One can track the last 50 years of evangelicalism and notice the swerving off the once followed path.
We used to “make disciples’. Now we “reach people with the Gospel”.
Our mission now seems to be to reach the whole world and get the Gospel to every living being on every nation and ethnicity. When you press for a definition of what is meant by “reach” well that is where things get real fuzzy.
I could break down a national survey of evangelical ministers. But let me just share a conversation I had with a fellow pastor, for same effect:
We had both graduated from the same “Assembly of God” Bible college. So I thought we must be on the same page when it came to something so basic and essential as our salvation theology.
This pastor looked at me and asked, “I don’t know Jeff. Can we really expect our people to give exact dates when they were saved?” To which I answered “Well I know exactly when and where I gave my life to Jesus and experienced a powerful rush inside my body. I know Jesus came inside right then and I was born again.”
To this he made the next comment: “I think maybe a few have experiences like yours. But most people in my church just kind of get saved by osmosis.”
I looked at him and said, “Osmosis? You gotta be kidding.”
He then said “I want everyone to feel like they belong in my church.”
Now although he didn’t disagree that people needed to be born again, I was personally disheartened by his comments.
This is becoming the normal response from evangelical and pentecostal ministers.
Do pastors like him even understand what their job really is? What is the Great Commission in his mind?
Paris Reidhead called it “Evangelical Humanism” – if I build a large church and people call me “succesful” then it doesn’t really matter “how” I grew a large church as long as I have thousands who attend and call themselves Christians. I am succesful.
In modern terms, I am someone to be emulated, followed and listened to if I have a certain number of adherents. I could come across another pastor who emphasizes true commitment to Christ, and teaches the Word in multiple ways in the church ministry menu, and focuses on building true, mature, faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
The pastor with the largest church will likely be seen as the most successful expert. The “less succesful” pastor has decided to grow his church through making disciples.
Henry Ford built a huge car factory to make his first batch of Model T cars.
All through the process, things can and did go wrong. But he had a QC system of making sure the final product was exactly as he – the original designer, required and intended.
Ford had his “Model T” specs. This was the Bible for their factory.
If the end result was slightly different – the process had to be ended at once and adjusted
so that the original intent of the founder/designer as described in full detail by the specs Bible was being produced.
Today every automobile factory has a Quality Control process. Why?
The original intent of the founder matters.
The specs are vital to the success or failure of that factory process.
One can imagine Henry Ford visiting a factory and seeing a wall of Model Ts – all welded together and soaring high in the sky in a dome like shape! The magnificent and beautiful sculpture with Model T skeletons welded together towers in the sky all painted and polished.
The QC people come to the factory workers and managers and executives – furious at the ghastly sight.
They question all the top team members “Why have you done this with Henry Ford’s beautiful design – Model T Automobiles? And why are so many workers I left in the tire and wheel department – gone?’
“Well that’s easy Mr Ford. You put us in charge of operations and we just couldn’t fit tires on the same places we needed to put the welds in order to make our beautiful dome. You have to admit – it’s a sight to behold!”
Then Mr Ford asks “And where are the leather pieces I specified in the blueprints to make the car seats?”
His executives replied “Oh. Didn’t they tell you?”
“Who tell me?”
“Well Sir, this was not our decision you understand. But the decor committee demanded, even against our wishes, that immaculate office chairs be made of all these chairs you originally have intended for your car seats. We told them you wouldn’t be angry but they didn’t listen.”
Mr Ford gasped for air. Then he announced “You are the executives I put in charge of my facility. You are responsible for the seats, not them!”
“We agree your Highness, but they made us do this. We didn’t have a choice!”
Mr Ford replied “Did I ask for a design committee in my specs?”
“No Sir. But to keep relevant we had to make a compromise here and there. “
Ford exclaimed “All I care about is 5000 Model T cars coming off the lot daily!”
“All I care about is happy families driving to and fro in my Model T cars! I will leave for a little while. When I return – You are all fired at once unless you repent today! Tear down this idolatrous palace dome at once! And start using This Spec Bible!”
“I’m appointing prophetic seers who are 💯 committed to my original intent as detailed in this Bible.
If you refuse them, I will sue you and have you thrown in prison for life!”
Well, that was going to end a little less bluntly.
But to be honest, I think a strong rebuke is in order.
So we’ll just go with it.
You cannot be a student of the Word and retain this worldy “Evangelical Humanism’ as your modus operandi.
Something’s got to give.