The Great Commission

Mission at GPC

What is it?

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Luke 10: 1-2

The Great Commission

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

  • We have a responsibility to share the gospel with the world, starting with those around us.
  • We are to be Jesus to our community.
  • We as God’s people are missionaries sent by God to reach out to this part of Auckland.

Where are we now?

  • The landscape has changed around us. Whereas church was once a place with which most would be familiar and reasonably comfortable, many would not be comfortable nor have any desire to set foot in a church.
  • Most mainstream churches are declining in numbers and struggling to reverse the trend.
  • Traditional church was effective when people were prepared to come but, for the most part, does not now connect with those we are trying to reach.

Who ought we to be?

  • A sent people
  • We are to be salt and light…

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 13 – 16

  • We are to be in the world but not of it. Church is the business of living as Christian community but we are doing that in view of the community at large finding ways to connect with it.
  • A people that demonstrates social concern, uplifting, caring for and meeting the needs of others…

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The king will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 34-40

  • A people that boldly proclaims the gospel of Christ…
    “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:45-47

What does this mean for church as we know it?

  • The Sunday service remains a vital part of church life, particularly for teaching and equipping Christians in their walk.
  • However, it does not stop with Sunday. In fact, Sunday is just the beginning.
  • The real work must be done by all of us in our contact with the community at large during the week.
  • Church is not about turning up on a Sunday to receive our dose but about playing an active part in a dynamic Christian community.
  • We may need to spend less time on church events and socialising with Christian friends to make time for connecting with non-Christians.
  • Events and activities in the church buildings are enablers rather than ends in themselves.
  • The focus of church is on equipping and sending rather than serving up a plethora of events and striving to have the best music, the best preaching, the best morning tea…
  • In this respect, church might be more like a waka than an aeroplane…

On a plane – an expert does the work and the rest of us sit and enjoy the ride.  We are a group of gathered individual.

In a waka – we all have a role.  We all paddle, we are all involved.  It is a team (community) approach.


 More than one way of receiving the gospel

The intention here is to recognise that there is more than one way of receiving the gospel:

  • Through declaration
  • Through relationship

The Spirit will use different ways in different situations and we must be available for His purposes.

Practical ideas for building relationships with those we are trying to reach

  • Invite your neighbours for dinner, perhaps together with some church friends.
  • Take a group from church to join with the community in a service project, e.g. at a school, sports club, etc.
  • Adopt a practice of showing ‘random acts of kindness’ to those around you.
  • Find practical ways to assist those in our community who are in greatest need – meals, clothing, company…
  • Carry on with the activities you enjoy but invite along a mix of Christian and non-Christian friends, e.g. biking, walking, skiing…

How will this work?

  • This will only work if it is genuine. Our motivation must be genuine love and concern for others as well as a genuine desire to obey the directive in the Great Commission.
  • At GPC we believe that it is God who does the saving. However, God will use us to prepare the ground to receive the Word (cf. the parable of the sower)

Will it hurt?

  • Yes, it might.
  • We must make time for mission. If we are too busy then we may have to drop some things that we like doing.

How will we encourage this at GPC?

  • Preach it
  • Model it
  • Discuss it (and do it) in homegroups
  • Testimonies (share success stories)
  • Focus our efforts on equipping and sending

 

*This table is not intended to be to be in any way pejorative of traditional church but it is intended to highlight each end of the spectrum of ways that people come to faith.

Traditional (attractional) approach Missional (incarnational) approach Commentary on the missional approach

Person is invited to church

Person is invited to belong

In a post-modern world, people are less likely to come unless the starting point is a strong relationship

Person confesses belief

Person confesses interest

They take an interest in your life having seen Christ through you

Person repeats a prayer

Person experiences the good news

We model Christ-like behaviour, show hospitality and love them

Person joins church

Person participates in community

People are attracted to Christian community rather than some big event or service

Belonging follows believing

Believing follows belonging

God may use the influence of Christian community in bringing some to faith

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