Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's A Church To Do?

The Commission of the Church

“Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing then in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20; NIV)

Go into all the world and make disciples is the commission that Jesus left the church just prior to his ascension back into the heavens. This is the motivation of the local church. For a number of decades the church has seemingly lost this motivation and has not been obedient to this commission. Looking at a cross section of local churches a shift has taken place in both motivation and commission. Now it seems that churches are looking at this commission through a different set of lenses as the early church and the church through the reformation/puritan periods.

What does the new commission look like? Let’s look at this commission the way it appears to be carried out in many local churches today:

“Therefore go and entertain eager and sensitive seekers through drama, art, rodeos, motor-cross, nudity and music, especially music, baptizing them in humanistic exaltation, rationalization, and the Spirit of wealth, teaching everything contrary to true discipleship in favor of pragmatism as the god of this world commands you. And surely great results, huge numbers, large/multiple campuses will be with you to the very end of the age.”

Tongue and check or is this a present reality in many cases? It goes with all saying that there are an unknown multitude of churches that have remained faithful to both Christ and his great commission. As we see Paul’s sobering warning to Timothy in the third chapter of his second letter to Timothy, we see these things happening more and more as this evil generation grows worse.

Part of the problem may lie in the mishandling of this great commission from our Lord. We have forgotten that the great commission does not have anything to do with our comfort, ease, wealth, or humanistic philosophy. Believe it or not it is not a commission or mandate to “worship.” Did you notice it doesn’t say anything about 45 minute musical worship periods?

The church needs to re-examine this commission very carefully. Once it has examined this commission it then needs to examine its mission, vision, objective, and purpose statements. Would you be surprised or worse, shocked if I told you that our purpose of gathering each Lord’s Day was not worship? How would the kids’ text the appropriate response; would it be OMG! Did he say our main purpose is not to gather to worship?

If one were to summarize the purpose or as someone once called it “the two great works of the church” it would be to “evangelize” (outside the four walls in the community) and to “edify” (disciple – inside the four walls of the congregation). We are to make disciples, evangelize them, then baptize them, and then teach them, edify or disciple them.

No doubt worship can occur in all parts of the gathering of the body corporately. Worship is not to be relegated to Sunday morning between 10:30 and Noon. Believe it or not we as believers can worship 24/7 – that is if we can stay awake that long.

When we gather it should be to celebrate the Lord’s Table around a meal. Our gathering should include sharing, praying, encouraging, ministering, bearing one another’s burdens, testifying or praise, and some praise/worship in song. Our gathering includes scripture reading, a lesson called an exhortation, and dialogue which enables understanding and application.

Each week at this time I desire to share an overview of discipleship in the local church. This blog was born out of a desire to stand as a constant reminder that we are not purpose-driven but we are gospel-driven; hence the name of this blog. So, stay tuned on Wednesday’s as we discuss the topic of Discipleship.

6 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

An excellent read Gregg and also an excellent idea for a discussion on a Wednesday.

Have a nice day.

Yvonne.

Lloyd said...

You hit it right on the head Gregg, with the comment: "We have forgotten that the great commission does not have anything to do with our comfort, ease, wealth, or humanistic philosophy." When Christians finally realize that it is not about "THEM" but all about "JESUS", then the true spirit of the Great Commission will flourish.

Gregg said...

Yvonne - thanks, I am glad you found this to be a good read. Hope you both enjoy and benefit.

Lloyd - It is all about Him. So few really realize this, even the ones who sing it each week. People don't want to hear about going, sowing, and growing.

John said...

...and then there is the popular movement to "be the hands & feet of Jesus". Of course, Christians should be out in the world caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, helping the hurting BUT, never should THIS be considered "sharing the Gospel."

There is much emphasis on compassion but very little if any on actual evangelism. Today's culturally relevant church is more about "friendship evangelism". Taking the Gospel out into the street, talking about things like the law, wrath, sin & repentance is just too offensive. If entertaining the seeker was a commandment, American churches would be earning quite a few 'heaven points.'

~ktf~
John
http://blogoftheway.blogspot.com/

Tony said...

Gregg,

Good post. I have been struggling to find a church locally that really puts emphasis on disciplining. We have been hosting a diner once a week and doing Bible study with another couple but it would be cool if we could find a church like that. I could almost be content building a fellowship out of this weekly gathering but I don't want to feel like I am bailing out on the local church scene by doing my own thing. Anyways all that is to say thanks for the post. I'm enjoying your blog and look forward to exploring more of it.

Best regards,

Tony
http://www.kingdombard.com

Davidson said...

"It goes with all saying that there are an unknown multitude of churches that have remained faithful to both Christ and his great commission"

That number, I think, may be way to large. Based on what I see in my local area, and read about others areas.

"Believe it or not it is not a commission or mandate to “worship.” Did you notice it doesn’t say anything about 45 minute musical worship periods?"


Service and ministry is definitely an opportunity to worship. That's part of the problem that the "music" is the only thing nowadays that means "worship" the leader is actually in many places called the "Worship Leader" and the man with the message (word)is second billing.

"Would you be surprised or worse, shocked if I told you that our purpose of gathering each Lord’s Day was not worship? How would the kids’ text the appropriate response; would it be OMG! Did he say our main purpose is not to gather to worship?"

Yes I would be shocked! When the church meets it better for the purpose of worship. Which involves teaching, musical praise, testimonies, benevolence, prayer and the other things you mention, but the term worship unfortunately is trying to undergo a change in meaning.



A good message thanks Gregg