In their book, What is the Mission of the Church?, Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert give some helpful counsel concerning what exactly the church is to be about. Here’s a quote followed by seven questions that summarize the Great Commission accounts:
“The mission of the church—as seen in the Great Commissions, the early church in Acts, and the life of the apostle Paul—is to win people to Christ and build them up in Christ. Making disciples—that’s our task.” (63)
7 Questions about the Great Commission:
“Who? Jesus gave this mission verbally to the first disciples, but it did not end with their deaths. As Lord of the church, he expects his followers to carry out this mission “to the end of the age.” Their mission is our mission.
Why? The authority for our mission comes from Christ. It is rooted in the Word of God and based on the Father’s sending of the Son. We are sent because Christ was sent, and we go in his name, under his authority.
What? The mission consists of preaching and teaching, announcing and testifying, making disciples and bearing witness. The mission focuses on the initial and continuing verbal declaration of the gospel, the announcement of Christ’s death and resurrection and the life found in him when we repent and believe.
Where? We are sent into the world. Our strategy is no longer “come and see” but “go and tell.” The message of salvation is for every people group – near, far, and everywhere in between.
How? We go out in the power of the Holy Spirit and in submission to the Son just as he was obedient to and dependent upon the Father.
When? The mission began at Pentecost when the disciples were clothed with power from on high with the presence of the Holy Spirit. The mission will last as long as the promise of Christ’s presence lasts; that is, to the end of the age.
To whom? The church should make disciples of the nations. We must go to every people group, proclaiming the good news to the ends of the earth.” (59)
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