What does the Great Commission require of local churches?
In order to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), churches must:
- Relentlessly preach the gospel. If a church wants to evangelize the world, it must begin by evangelizing its neighbors. First step: clearly preach the gospel in every public service of the church.
- Teach people to obey everything Jesus commanded. The Great Commission is a command to make disciples of Jesus, people who follow, imitate, and obey him. Growing disciples make better witnesses.
- Equip every member to personally evangelize. The pastor can’t be the only evangelist. A church should train and encourage all of its members in evangelism. Hold Sunday School classes that teach evangelism. Highlight evangelistic material (such as Christianity Explored [link]) for use in personal evangelism. Regularly pray with the church for evangelistic efforts.
- Seek opportunities to partner with missionaries in other nations. Churches should not only strive to evangelize their neighbors but places where Christ is not known (Rom. 15:20). Therefore, seek out partnerships with likeminded brothers and sisters who are already laboring in another country.
- Pray that God would raise up members who would bring the gospel to other nations. Every church’s situation will be different, but every church should pray that God would raise up some of its own people to pursue foreign missions.