The report of the Great Commission Task Force entitled “Penetrating the Lostness: Embracing a Vision for a Great Commission Resurgence” was adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention messengers at our meeting in Orlando. The report included seven recommendations for the work of Southern Baptists. These were significant items and will impact our work together in the years to come.
While in Orlando, a friend asked, “How does this report impact WMU?” My response was that we in WMU would keep doing what we’ve always done, challenging and equipping people to carry out the Great Commission. But I also told my friend, that I would be drawing attention to the challenges included in the report and how we in WMU can respond.
If you were not in Orlando and have not read the GCR Task Force report, it would be easy to think that the report only speaks to how the national denomination will do things and has nothing to do with me or my church. While it is true that the SBC “cannot direct individual Christians, local churches, associations, or state conventions to take any particular or specific action,” it is fitting that the GCR report included challenges that speak to all of us.
Challenges for individual Christians:
– Return to God in deep repentance of brokenness over sin, denying self, and coming to God with complete humility.
– Commit to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of your life, understanding that Christ’s lordship is inseparable from all aspects of the believer’s life, including family obligations, business and profession, and recreational or leisure pursuits.
– Devote yourself to a radical pursuit of the Great Commission in the context of obeying the Great Commandments of loving God and loving others.
– Participate in a church sponsored evangelism training class sometime during 2011 and make this a regular component of the discipleship process in your life.
– Develop strategies as an individual for praying for, serving, sharing the Gospel and discipling neighbors, coworkers, and others with whom you come into regular contact.
– Bear witness to the Gospel through personal evangelism, seeing every individual as a sinner in need of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone.
– Participate in a North American or international mission trip sponsored by your church or association at least once every four years.
– Grow in giving as a faithful financial steward with at least 10% of your income going to your local church. However, see 10% as a place to begin in grace giving but not as a place to stop.
– Determine to exercise a greater level of stewardship through estate planning and planned giving, leaving a percentage of your estate to your local church, the Cooperative Program, and to a faithful Baptist entity such as NAMB, IMB, a Baptist college, or our seminaries.
– Give serious consideration to adoption and orphan care as a component of Great Commission living.
– Determine to develop a well-rounded Christian worldview that allows you to clearly articulate both what you believe and why you believe.
– Repent of any and all sin that has prevented you from being fully used by our Lord in fulfilling the Great Commission. This includes sins of idolatry, pride, selfish ambition, hatred, racism, bigotry and other sins of the flesh that dishonor the name of Jesus.
There is a lot in just these challenges. The report also includes challenges for families, local churches and pastors, associations, etc. If each of us just chose one and committed to carry it out in the year ahead, we would see great progress in penetrating the lostness of our world.
For instance, the adoption and orphan care challenge could also be fulfilled through serving as an “In-Home Missionary” with Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children as a foster parent. KBHC needs the equivalent of at least one foster family per church to be able to really meet the needs in our state. Few of the children needing foster care are literal orphans, but they are spiritual orphans needing loving families who share Christ.
Your one commitment might be to take a personal evangelism class this year, or write your will and include a tithe to the Lord’s work. It might be to go on a mission trip or develop a list of people who are lost that you will pray for every day.
Start somewhere. Choose one. The Great Commission is for all of us.