Interpreting the Great Commission
The Great Commission has been used to drive many churches today. Indeed, it is a commandment of the Lord and there is a great urgency to spread the Good News. However, the Great Commission has often been taken solely as a task. It has been used as a great excuse to build bigger churches. As such, many churches today emphasize more on growth in numbers than true discipleship. They are prone to use fruitfulness to refer to the number of converts the believers won rather than their Christlikeness. There’s a great need to interpret the Great Commission correctly. I humbly suggest three important aspects after I reflected on what Senior Pastor Edmund Chan said about it being more an alignment than an assignment.
The first is that it gives us a purpose rather than a project. When Jesus gave the Commission to the disciples. It was not a project, but a purpose. This purpose would reorientate the disciples’ lives so that they would go after the heartbeat of the Father.
Secondly, it gives us a process rather than a point. The Great Commission is not about making converts so that churches can report a greater number and show their results. Some churches today are just playing the number game. In Jesus’ ministry, He never went for numbers. Besides going out to make disciples, the Church is supposed to go teach and baptise the disciples as well. Jesus is more concerned about putting the disciples through the discipling process. It is only through this process that the disciples can become more like Christ and embrace the purpose of God.
Thirdly, it is about His presence rather than our performance. Many a times, we are measured by our performance. Those people who can bring more people to church are seemingly more important. Evangelism is reduced to a matter of goals, strategies and methods. We forget that evangelism is actually the work of God. We can only sow, but it is God who make them grow. It is not dependent on our performance. Evangelism without God’s presence is meaningless. Jesus wants us to know that the Great Commission is about bring His presence on earth, just as His kingdom is here with us today.