Call to Worship
Leader: O Lord, our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
People: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, what are mortals that you care for them?
Leader: Yet you have made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.
People: O Lord, our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
*Hymn of Praise #1 Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty
Invocation (the Lord’s Prayer) Living God, in this hour, we pray
that we will know you here. Be present as a breath of wisdom. Be present as a glimpse of newness. Be present as the one who meets us, as we are. This we pray in faith.
Responsive Reading Psalm 8
Our Offering to God *Stewardship Thought
The church has always had it missionaries - those who "go." But what if Jesus means us all in the great commissioning? Congregations often speak of "outreach" and general plans for attracting people "in," but how do we fare if we actually go out? In these days, many people are suspicious of Christians and our gathering places. They sometimes feel used and manipulated, rather than welcomed and loved - as though our love is conditional on their becoming "one of us." To go out may mean becoming a genuine, respected, and respectful part of the community. We go, carrying with us the blessing of God:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
mother, child, and wisdom;
creator, redeemer, and sustainer.
Could we actually carry this as gift to the world: a blessing, rather than a demand?
We participate in God's reign through our
Prayer of Dedication When we think of all we owe to you, O God,
we know that what we bring to you is never enough.
But we pray that you will receive these, our gifts, today.
In the name of Christ, Amen.
*Hymn of Prayer # 4 Come, Thou Almighty King
Pastoral Prayer O God, we bring our thanks for the beauty of
your being: for its ambiguity and complexity,for its simplicity and clarity, for its generosity and its challenges. We bring you thanks for the signs of life we find among us: in kindnesses given, in undeserved
compassion, and in freely offered gifts. We thank you that in all the earth your presence springs forth: unexpectedly, reassuringly, and in
God, your very existence is a prayer of intercession for us and all the earth. There is never a moment when your voice of justice and hope is not heard abroad, singing in strong melodies of truth and sounding in
chords of courage. We pause to listen for your life among us.
In this moment, we join our voices with you, Father, sighing into the creation with longing,calling into the nights of life for the light of your
inspiration and the warmth of your compassion.
The people bring their prayers
Without you, we will be lost, O God.With you, nothing is impossible.
Remind us of that truth in the depths of our life together. Journey on with us, we pray. Amen.
*Hymn of Praise How Majestic is Your Name
O Lord our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.
O Lord we praise your name, O Lord we magnify Your name,
Prince of Peace, mighty God.
O Lord God Almighty.
Thou Art Worthy
Thou art worthy, Thou art worthy, Thou art worthy, O Lord
To receive glory, glory and honor, glory and honor and pow’r.
For Thou hast created, hast all thing created, Thou hast created all things,
And for Thy pleasure they are created, Thou art Worthy, O Lord.
Scripture Reading Matthew 28:16-20
Message It is Time to Go
Illustration: The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall.
Application: Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.
We can be helped in this by the late Richard Halverson, the former chaplain of the United States Senate, who offers a fresh take on the command of Jesus to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (v. 19). Digging into the Greek of the New Testament, he discovered that what Jesus was really saying in this verse was, "As you go, make learners everywhere."
Don't make disciples, he insists - make learners. Don't try to drag people into Sunday school, or into youth programs, or into the sanctuary. Don't try to lure them into church at all. Instead, try to show them something of the power of Christ in your own life. Monday through Friday, show them some of what you have personally experienced of Jesus, and help them to learn about Christ through the joy and the hope and the love you are feeling.
Then, as the people around you are influenced by your faith, they will find their way into a community of believers somewhere. It may be here, it may be someplace else.
The work of the church isn't what we're doing in church, or training camp, if you will. "While we're here," concludes Halverson, "we're being equipped" - equipped to do the work of the church that lies out in the world and is to be done between Sundays.
So, make learners. Personify Christian values. Preach the gospel constantly, using words if necessary.
Jesus gave us the command to make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, but He also told us several essentials that are worth implementing in our disciple-making ministries:
A. All Authority: You have complete authority that is necessary for completing His great commission in the word of God. Help people to utilize the authority of the scriptures in all aspects of their personal lives, relationships and ministries. Do not hesitate to make disciples a priority in whatever ministry God leads you in to..
B. Go: We are to look to the fields that are ripe for harvesting and then move to the areas where the Lord is calling us to make disciples. Learn to make disciples where you are at so the Lord will direct you to where He wants to make disciples in the days to come. He who is faithful in little things will be given greater responsibilities for the qualitative and quantitative expansion of His kingdom and righteousness. (Matt 6:33) Ask the Lord for wisdom in sewing your seed to people who are most responsive to becoming Christ’s disciples.
C. Make disciples of all the people group. It is not enough to just be a disciple or a follower of Jesus Christ. We are to be disciple-makers. That implies that we are coming along with Jesus wherever He went to the lost, to the hurting and those who are poor in spirit and recognize their needs. We are to be using our natural and spiritual gifts to serve others in ways that will help them come to maturity in Christ. We are not to haphazardly serve anyway that seems convenient. We are to purposely think in terms of producing multipliers who will be able to help make disciple-makers of every nations, tribe, people group and language group on the planet. All 18,000, of which there are approximately 1.7 billion yet to be reached for the gospel and the great commission.
(ta ethne): We are to target nations and people groups that will be able to reach their own people. By working through faithful people who will teach others also we can best help multiply the church into all the communities (social-economic groupings) of the world. Help them to take up the full armor of God as they cross social, ethnic, and cultural barriers for the sake of world evangelization.
D. Teach: We are to speak the truth in love so that people will grow up in all aspects into Christ. (Eph. 4:15) Ask the Lord to help you do whatever you can to teach, preach and demonstrate the truth of God’s word to people for the purpose of spiritual and numerical growth. Teaching involves both edification as well as evangelism, but the emphasis is always on growth by equipping the members of the body of Christ for the works of service. Application: Teaching involves informing, persuading, observing, interpreting, correlating, applying, communicating and evaluating what is best for each student, subject and situation.
E. Baptizing: We are to baptize people because baptism unites people by helping them declare their loyalty to Christ and His body as an outward sign of an inner allegiance to Christ the Lord. Baptism helps us to make our joy complete by being of the same mind, uniting in spirit and intent on one purpose of giving greater glory to God by identifying with the death, burial and resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Baptism gives us an opportunity to corporately declare our faith, hope and love for the Lord above all others as a body of Christ.
F. Teach them to obey His commands: It is not just enough to instruct people with information, ideas and illustrations. Purposely teach people so that they will learn to do the full will of God with their hearts, minds, emotions, relationships, activities and ministries. Some people learn best by practically teaching people, some do best by studying the concepts of disciple-making, others learn best by analyzing the art and science of disciple-making, while some learn disciple-making by discovering better procedures by inventing new methods. Concentrate on helping your disciples gain competency in handling the essentials of Christ’s commands
G. Live in the light of His resurrection power.
It is important to remember that we implement the great commission with the power of Christ’s overcoming power. Jesus said, "In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer as I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) The Lord Jesus wants us to trade our sorrows, shame and shyness for the power of His resurrection. (Phil 3:10) Few people live in the power of His resurrection because they are not being empowered by the Spirit. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of Power, love and self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7)
Praise God that you have the power to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the utter most parts of the earth. You do not have to feel inadequate since He makes you adequate as servants of a new covenat, not of the letter but by the Spirit. Let us Spirit work through you to be a more effective witness in your personal life, relationships and ministries.
Be empowered to pray with greater faith for breakthroughs in China, India and the Muslim world. "This mountain will be removed. Not by power or by might but by my Spirit says the Lord of hosts." (Zech 4:6,7)
H. Worship the great of Jesus Christ. Verse seventeen says, "When they saw Him, the fell down and worshiped Him, but some doubted." There is power in praise. There is renewal in worship. When we worship the Lord we get a great vision to see all of life from God’s perspective instead of from our own limitations. Worship helps us realize that Jesus is greater than any problem. Giving glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord allows us to devote ourselves, our money and our efforts to a cause that is greater than what we can envision.
Note, that Jesus even spoke to those who doubted meaning that the great commission is even for those who are yet to be mature in their faith and obedience. Do not wait until you have worked out all of your problems. Trust and obey the Lord for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
I. Therefore, in the light of His authority over everything.
Only when people fully appreciate, acknowledge and submit to Christ’s authority will they be willing to go and make disciples of all the people groups of the world. It is amazing that less than 1% of mission dollars go toward the reaching of the unreached people groups of the world. Could this be that many people are more committed to their own authority, or the authority of their local church officials, or to the authority of their traditions instead of the authority of Jesus Christ.
Only when we allow the Lord’s authority to control our perceptions, plans and priorities are we able to effectively be involved in thrusting laborers into His harvest fields, that includes ourselves. His authority makes us weep for those 500,000 people who are drifting into a Christless eternity every day. His authority directs us our efforts to do everything we can to seek and to save those which are lost. (Luke 19:10)
J. Teaching them everything I have commanded you.
Most people learn more by watching, observing and following a friend or a mentor. Do not think that you can teach people only by one means, method or mechanism. Utilize multiple approaches to your teaching so that you can appeal to as many different learning styles and culturally effective norms as possible. Some people are going to learn more by watching a Jesus film, some might learn by watching satellite television programs about the essentials of the Christian life, many groups learn more from drama and story telling than any others method, others will learn by listening to a radio program, still others might learn by sitting in a classroom listening to a learned teacher, finally some people might learn best through correspondence or online classes. Expose people to as many different learning and teaching styles as possible.
L. Remember He is with us:
We are not able to make disciples without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in us both to will and to of His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13,14) God told Joshua when he went in to the promise land: "Be strong and courageous and act. Do not fear or be dismayed for the Lord God goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all of the work of the house of God has been completed." (Josh. 1:7-9) Do not try to make disciples and complete the great commission with your own power, cunning or resources.
Concluding Application: Ask the Lord to direct, empower and enable you to have as the goal of your instruction love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (I Tim. 1:5)
Sources:Adsit, Chris. "Why should we make disciples?" Disciplemakers International, ccci.org/disciplemakers/why.html. Retrieved September 26, 2001.
Dart, Bob. "Religious faith leads to captivity in Afghanistan." Detroit Free Press, September 20, 2001.
Halverson, Richard C. "The essentials of discipleship: Make disciples." Discipleship Series, gospelcom.net. Retrieved November 8, 2001
*Hymn of Response # 276 In the Stars His Handiwork I See
*Sending forth Let us leave here in hope and joy, committed to
bring God's blessings to the world.
Go in the faithful company of the Christ,walking toward the sweeping horizons of the Creator's love,and held firm in the arms of the eternal Spirit.Amen.
Levi Watkins teaches all day, every day. He is a cardiac surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, which is a teaching hospital. Residents there learn by working alongside veteran physicians like Watkins as they diagnose and treat patients.
Watkins, who also lectures at Johns Hopkins Medical School, where he is associate dean, takes particular pride in "teaching by example." As the poem on the wall of his office says, "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one."
-Chuck Salter, "Teacher with a heart,"
Seven years ago the Chicago Tribune reported the story of a mother who let her nine children, aged 8 months to 11 years, fend for themselves in a gritty apartment filled with trash and excrement. Public officials, responding to a neighbor's call, entered the apartment at 2 a.m. and took the children into custody. The mother, said the owner of the apartment building, was more interested in partying late than in caring for her children. The public was (rightly) outraged by this maternal malfeasance.
Evangelical Christians commit the moral equivalent of such child abuse when they pour all their energies into evangelistic programs and fail to make sure that spiritual newborns are given the nurture they need to grow into healthy, mature followers of Jesus. Each young believer needs a mature disciple who has walked this way before and who can, in a transparent relationship, help the newer Christian toward the dual knowledge of God and self. Such relationships are not efficient, but they are essential to our growing in grace.
-"Make disciples, not just converts," Christianity Today
Proselytizing is against the law in a predominantly Muslim country like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Iran. That means it is prohibited by law to evangelize, to speak about or proclaim or teach or preach any religion or doctrine other than Islam. How do we Christians carry out the mandate of the "great commission" Jesus Christ committed first to the apostles, and through them to every Christian in every church in every age?
The answer is: We do it the best way we can. Medical missionaries witness by word and deed. "By word" they are permitted to respond to questions about what motivated them to be missionaries in a Muslim country. "By deed" they represent the healing touch of the Great Physician.
-David Jenkins, "How do we witness to Muslims?"
Before going to Ethiopia, the denomination sent me off to take a course in anthropology. Knowing the antipathy between anthropologists and missionaries, I didn't identify myself or speak up in class. But the teacher found out from someone that I was going to Africa as a missionary. He stopped me after class one day and mentioned what he had heard.
I wondered what he was going to say to me. He said, "When you get to Africa you will be surprised to find that because you are a minister you and the typical African are much closer than you and your American neighbors." He noted my surprise at his remark and went on, "Because you are a minister, you and the Africans have a common belief that life at its core is spiritual. Most of your American neighbors think it is material." It is because of that belief that we are essentially spiritual beings which has resulted in the explosion of the gospel in Africa.
- Harold E Kurtz
We keep on assuming that we know the play. We do not even know whether we are in Act I or Act V. The Author knows.
-C. S. Lewis
Matthew 28:16-20This lesson, Matthew 28:16-20, is the final episode in the evangelist's account of Jesus' resurrection (chapter 28), and serves as the conclusion of both Jesus' life and, accordingly, Matthew's gospel, which functions, in its way, as the account of that life. As such, the episode briefly recapitulates a number of themes that the evangelist has woven throughout his account of the Messiah's life and ministry.
Jesus' resurrection is presented by Matthew in this relatively brief chapter as consisting of the discovery of the empty tomb by two of his followers and their initial encounter with him (vv. 1-10), the plot to report that his body had been stolen (vv. 11-15), and the commissioning of the disciples (vv. 16-20). (The relative brevity of this chapter is apparent by comparing it, on the one hand, to the preceding chapter, the account of Jesus' trial and execution, which requires 66 verses to recount, and, on the other, to Luke's and John's accounts of Jesus' resurrection, which are both considerably longer than Matthew's and Mark's.)
Jesus' commissioning of his disciples is unique to Matthew, emphasizing, by its appearance and placement in the gospel, one of Matthew's prominent themes, the movement of the preaching of the gospel beyond the confines of Palestinian Judaism and into the broader Gentile world. The depiction of that movement is not as developed in Matthew as it will be in Luke's gospel, but the direction is clearly discernible.
As part of his first post-resurrection appearance, Jesus instructed Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" (28:1) to tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee (v. 10), and the "eleven disciples" are reported as having fulfilled these instructions (v. 16). Judas is absent, having committed suicide out of remorse for his betrayal of Jesus, an episode reported only by Matthew (27:3-10; compare Luke's alternative account of Judas' death in Acts 1:12-26). Although only the remainder of the original 12 disciples is mentioned in this commissioning, the presence of other disciples (including the women who were the first to encounter the risen Christ) should not be excluded. Not only is it possible that they (and others) were present at this commissioning, but it is likely. "Disciple" is not a technical term in the New Testament, and included both the Twelve and other followers of Jesus, described less theologically but perhaps more clearly simply as "adherents" (cf Luke 6:17, which refers to "a great crowd of his disciples").
The identity and location of "the mountain" on which this event took place (v. 16) are neither known nor particularly significant, since it is the event, rather than the locale, that is important. While mountains serve the function in Matthew's gospel of localizing important events in Jesus' life and ministry (e.g., 4:8, temptation; 5:1, teaching; 17:1, transfiguration), that localizing is meant to point back to the life of the other great religious lawgiver in the history of Israel, Moses, whose ministry was also associated with mountains (cf, e.g., Exodus 3:1; 17:6; 18:5; 19:2, 11, etc.).
That the mission of spreading the gospel is now directed toward those outside biblical Israel (as represented by the kingdom of Judah with its capital at Jerusalem) is reinforced by the location of the mountain of commissioning "in Galilee," an area indicated earlier by Jesus in Matthew's gospel (26:32) as the site of his post-resurrection rendezvous with his disciples. Although the northern region of Palestine that included Galilee was part of the tribal allotment preserved in the earliest layers of Israel's religious history (Joshua 19), already by the later prophetic period Galilee's distinct identity as an area somewhat peripheral to the core of Israelite religious identity was recognized (e.g., Isaiah 9:1, which refers to "Galilee of the nations/Gentiles"). By the time of the writing of the gospels, tension was evident between the Jewish religious activity associated with the Jesus mission in and around Galilee (e.g., Mark 1:28) and the religious establishment headquartered in Jerusalem (cf, e.g., Mark 3:22; 7:1). This tension would culminate in Jesus' arrest, trial and crucifixion in Jerusalem, the site of his strongest opposition.
Two factors make the shift in focus from Jerusalem to Galilee at the conclusion of the story of Jesus somewhat surprising. The first is that whatever historical traditions there were surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus and the culmination of his ministry, those traditions are invariably located in Jerusalem, making Jerusalem the obvious place from which to launch the new religious movement. Second, and perhaps more important, are the various traditions from biblical Israel pointing to Jerusalem as the center from which worldwide messianic restoration would emanate (see especially Isaiah 2:2-3). As the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus could reasonably be expected to make the capital of the kingdom of God and the capital of the holy commonwealth one and the same That he did not do so, according to Matthew, is a striking theological statement.
Although Galilee symbolized the point of departure for the new Christian mission, there is little solid textual or archaeological evidence (aside from the hypothesized Q) to indicate extensive activity of the Jesus movement in Galilee after his death. Christian tradition says surprisingly little about Galilee as a center of thought or leadership in the first several centuries of the life of the church, and the bulk of documentary evidence from the New Testament (especially Acts) suggests that tension continued for some time between locating the center of the Jesus (now unmistakably Christian) movement at Jerusalem under Peter, and locating it somewhere in the itinerant ministry of Paul in Asia Minor; Galilee does not really figure in this debate. Galilee's significance in the gospel tradition after the death of Jesus, therefore, while by no means fictional, is more symbolic than historical.
The content of the authority given to Jesus (v. 18) is not specified, but it results in discipleship. Rooted in the Son of Man tradition stretching back to the book of Daniel (7:13-14, and even earlier, in the pre-Israelite religious traditions of Northwest Syria-Palestine), the reference to Jesus' authority is very likely a deliberate echo of the devil's offer of all the world's kingdoms and splendor during Jesus' temptation (Matthew 4:9).
The tradition of baptism in the gospels derives from John (Matthew 3:11), and one of the striking features of the practice is that there is no record of Jesus administering the rite of baptism himself. That baptism quickly became both widespread and controversial in the early Christian movement is abundantly attested, especially in Paul's letters (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:14-17; cf also Acts 2:41). While baptism emerged fairly quickly as the standard rite of initiation into the Christian church, it is by no means clear that this was the case with Jesus and his disciples. Similarly, the appearance of the explicit Trinitarian formula in verse 19 is rare in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 13:13 is the first and only other explicit reference to the three persons of the Godhead as a single concept), and probably reflects a later baptismal formula interpolated into the gospel of Matthew.
The promise of Jesus' abiding presence with his disciples "to the end of the age" (v. 20) may serve as the fulfillment of the promise implied in the name given to Jesus at his birth, Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23), as well as the reiteration of the common theme of "the end of the (present) age," found some five times in Matthew's gospel. The radically eschatological nature of the gospels is as clear here as anywhere, and the emphasis is not on judgment but on Christ's abiding presence with those who follow and teach his commandments. The final word of the gospel of Matthew is one of reassurance and hope.
Unfold a road map and ask the children if they ever study a map before they go on a trip. Ask them to explain what the various lines and words and symbols on the map mean. Emphasize how important it is to have a map and a plan before you set out on a trip - otherwise you can easily become lost. Then tell them the story of the plan Jesus gave his friends before he left them to go to heaven (Matthew 28:16-20); he gave them a kind of a word-map to follow if they wanted to be his disciples in the world. Point out that there were four key points on this map: make disciples, baptize, teach and remember. Briefly discuss how every Christian can make disciples, invite people to be baptized into the church, teach about God's love and remember that Jesus is always with them. Let them know that if they follow this Christian map, they will never become lost.
Call to Worship
O Lord our God and Savior, who sent the disciples and apostles to the very ends of the earth to teach and proclaim your message, to heal all illnesses and to reveal the mysteries of the faith which have been hidden from humankind since the creation of the earth, send us your blessing and enlighten our understanding, and may we be given the gift of final perseverance. By your Spirit, enable us to do and to act in accordance with your commands as set out in the gospel, and may the fruit of the gospel be increased in us many times over.
-Adapted from a prayer from the Ethiopian Liturgy.
This is merely a resting place, a place of transit, where humanity and God pause before taking to the road again. Go, my people, you are ready to set sail, your country is not here. You are a wayfaring people, strangers, never rooted in one place, pilgrims moving toward an abiding city farther on. Go forth, my people, go and pray farther off, love will be your song and life your celebration. Go, you are the house of God, stones cut according to the measure of God's love. You are awaited, my people, and I declare to you, Word of God, I am going with you!
-Poem No. 7 of the Texts, Worship Book of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Seoul, Korea, 1989.
Lord, Our Lord, Thy Glorious Name
Go, Make of All Disciples
I Sing Praises to Your Name
Great Is Your Name
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|Guidelines From the Great Commission|
Guidelines From the Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20)
Most Christians are content to be spectators instead of becoming obedient disciple-makers. True blessings, power and fulfillment is found in being a multiplying disciple-maker. Let us see how we can think, do and become what the Lord’s will for our life is. Failure to do so is a sure recipe for self-destructive behavior and thinking.
Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry ?
Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die ?
Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand ?
Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you headed for a Christless eternity?
Subj: Outstanding Mission Strategy
Date: 7/22/2003 9:43:25 AM Eastern Standard Time
BCC: firstname.lastname@example.org, LLCarterMD@cs.com, PPaulfritz, email@example.com, donna111John4@earthlink.net
Redrawing our conceptual map of the goal of mission
The Five Frontiers of Missions
Stan Nussbaum, GMI Staff Missiologist
In the quarter century since Ralph Winter’s epoch-making address at the Lausanne Congress in 1974, the goal of mission has been seen increasingly as the evangelization of unreached people groups. Today Winter and many others are refining and stretching (not diluting or abandoning) that view of the goal. They are redrawing the evangelical conceptual map of the goal of mission.
As part of that discussion, I want to sketch a simple but perhaps radical model of the goal of mission, dividing it into five frontiers. To use current mission jargon, the model represents a paradigm shift toward holistic mission, the kind of shift that a number of evangelicals are calling for (especially those outside the United States). Readers’ responses to this "back of the envelope" sketch of the model will be very welcome helps as the model is prepared for publication in a full-blown form (missiological jargon, footnotes and all) in an academic journal.
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0% KNOWLEDGE 100%
The Mission Matrix
The model is a matrix that combines scales of knowledge (understanding of the gospel) and zeal (intention to serve God). God’s will for humanity is the top right corner (point B) where knowledge and zeal are both at their highest.
Frontier 1: Evangelizing the Unreached
The dotted lines in the matrix divide people into four types. The unnumbered section represents those who have both knowledge and zeal, that is, the ones who are sending missionaries. They are the closest to God’s goal or will. Frontier 1 is those who have neither knowledge nor zeal, that is, the unreached peoples. The goal of mission has been seen as a sending from point B to point A. The problem which the model highlights is that this view leaves out half of the world (sections 2 and 3).
Frontier 2: Renewing the Nominal Christians
"Nominals" are those who have some understanding of the gospel or at least belong to a church that used to have it (and probably still has quite a bit of it built into its liturgy). But they are dead as far as zeal goes. Globally there are probably more nominal Christians than any other kind-hundreds of millions of Christians "on paper." The standard evangelical approach is either to ignore these people or to treat them just like any other "unreached" group. The model suggests affirming the knowledge they already have and calling them to the zeal that should enliven it.
Frontier 3: Discipling the House Church Christians
The House Church Christians we hear of most are those in China, but the Pentecostal explosion in Latin America and the "independent churches" in Africa are parallel examples, adding up to many millions worldwide. These are the most zealous and the fastest growing churches in the world. But when their understanding of the gospel is examined, Pandora’s box pops open. God’s Word is often missed or distorted. Leaders ordain themselves and preach their own ideas. The model suggests affirming the zeal they have and calling them to the knowledge that should guide it.
Frontier 4: Enlightening the Anti-Christians
The bottom left corner (point A) represents zero knowledge and zero zeal. However, the scales may both be extended to negative numbers representing those who think they have some knowledge of the gospel, but what they know is wrong (4A), or those who have a zeal about God, but it is a zeal to oppose him and everyone who believes in him (4B) or those who have both problems (4C). The model suggests that for evangelization on Frontier 4, we need specific missiological strategies that get the target group "up to zero" before the gospel itself is presented. We undermine their negative position by explaining things (the knowledge axis) or by suffering gladly (the zeal axis).
Frontier 5: Deepening the Evangelizing Christians
We who take the Great Commission seriously have seen ourselves as the agents of mission, not a frontier for mission. We are the "haves" who give the gospel to the "have nots." The model calls us to re-think this if we now turn the matrix into a cube by adding a new dimension called "love in action." God’s will for humanity is not really where we thought it was (point B). Instead it is at the top back corner of the cube (point C). We ourselves are part of the "goal" or "object" of mission until we reach point C, that is, until we add "love in action" to our zeal and our knowledge. If we accept the cube model, "love in action" is not a distraction from mission but an integral, essential part of it.
Perhaps we say we are already working on all five frontiers, we just don’t call it "mission" unless it relates to Frontier 1. But as I look at evangelical mission activity today (especially but not only the part that is based in North America) I don’t see much happening anywhere except Frontier 1. People working on the other four frontiers, with the possible exception of the last one, are voices crying in the wilderness. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Credit to: Omega Strategy from Global Mapping International
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Reaching Our Full Potential by Dr. Bruce Emmert
“The Group Project”
Sermon Series: Ministry of the Laity (1 of 3)
Dr. Bruce L. Emmert
Church of the Servant, Overland Park, Kansas
Do you remember the anxiety you felt as a kid in school when your teacher announced that there was going to be a GROUP PROJECT? Most kids hate group projects, for two basic reasons. First, we hated group projects because we were give this huge responsibility that would no doubt be recorded on our ‘permanent record’ but we did not have the authority to make sure that the other kids in the group did their share of the work! The hard working kids discovered that if they wanted to get a good grade, then they had to do all the work. But those good grades came at a price, didn’t they. For the achievers, the cost of a good grade wasn’t simply doing the lion’s share of the work. The price of a good grade was the anger and frustration of having a heavy responsibility, but no authority to do it. Responsibility without authority leads to frustration and anger.
The second reason most of us detested group projects was that every group had a kid who thought that he or she was better at everything than everyone else, and so that one kid would hog all the work. You would go to the group meeting and leave with nothing to do because the control-kid wanted to do it all. Sure, the grade would be good, but that good grade came with a price. In that group, the price of a good grade was the boredom of having the authority to do something, but no responsibility.
Does this have the ring of truth? Responsibility without authority leads to frustration and anger. Authority without responsibility leads to apathy and boredom. Don’t you see the same thing in the businesses you’ve work for? We can see the toll this exacts from workers, but I have to believe that businesses suffer as well. Frustrated and angry workers will not be as creative and innovative as they can be and can actually try to sabotage projects. Bored and apathetic workers will not be as productive as they should be. There is a tremendous toll to pay when there is responsibility without authority and authority without responsibility: neither the person nor the organization will reach their potential.
I hate to admit it, but this has been as true in the church as it is in business and at school. Thousands upon thousand of churches in America are pastored by frustrated and angry clergy who feel the responsibility to make their churches grow and to ensure that all these wonderful ministries are done, yet have no authority to make their parishioners work—it’s a volunteer organization. On the other side of the pulpit, there are hundreds of thousands of apathetic and bored church members who feel that they have the God given authority to make a difference in the world through the church, but are never given meaningful responsibility by the pastor. The church of Jesus Christ is littered with pastors who are burned out because of overwork and lay people who have rusted out due to being left on the side of the road with nothing significant to do. The result is that the pastors and the people are not achieving their full potential—and neither is the church as a whole. That’s not what Jesus wants for us.
When Jesus gathered his disciples together for the last time he told to them: “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (18-20).
If a church is going to reach its full potential, it has to take these words of Jesus seriously. Look at what Jesus said.
1. Jesus said “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Listen to the words: Go and make. Jesus gave his disciples a tremendous responsibility—go to the whole world and help people develop a deep and abiding friendship with Jesus. Jesus gave the responsibility for making disciples to the disciples. Let me remind you of what kind of people his disciples were. Some had been fishermen, one had been a tax collector, one had been a political extremist. Not a one of them was a priest or a pastor or religious professional. They were what we today refer to as laity—lay men and women. Remember, there were more priests and pastor types in Jesus’ day than you could shake a stick at. But Jesus entrusted this world-changing responsibility to the laity.
2. But not only did Jesus give his disciples responsibility, he also gave them authority. Jesus said that God had given him complete authority in heaven and on earth. What I want you to see is that Jesus did not jealously guard that authority and keep it for himself, but instead conferred that authority upon his disciples. Early in his time with the disciples, Jesus called them together and “gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness” and then sent them out to do ministry (Matthew 10:1). Jesus gave them responsibility, and he also gave the authority to do what he assigned them.
This is the point I want to drive home today: Jesus gave the whole church the responsibility of making disciples and he also conferred the authority to make disciples upon the whole church. When the clergy release the authority to act and when the laity accept the responsibility for ministry the church becomes an unstoppable force that reaches its full potential in Jesus Christ.