I am concerned. I am very concerned actually. Far too many people in ministry think the great commission is church planting. It is not.
While church planting can be part of the overall goals of evangelism, it is the over riding vision of God’s mission, preaching the gospel is.
What is the Great Commission?
- Matthew 28:19 tells us to make disciplines
- Mark 16:15-20 tells us to preach the gospel with signs and wonders following
- Luke 24:49 tells us move in power evangelism
- John 14:12 tells us to move in power evangelism as well
- Acts 1:8 tells us to be missional ministry and be witness of power
Do you notice something? I mean besides the fact that Matthew seems to be off in left field big time. The gospel is to preach the gospel of Jesus, not plant churches. Nowhere did Jesus tell us to “go out and plant churches and make sure you wear tight jeans when you speak.” Not even one time.
The problem with church planting
As humans, we want something that we can see to be part of. This is why the Jewish people wanted the golden calf. They wanted something visible to be a member of. Christians are little different. They want to be part of “church.” The idolatry of it is the point that many act like the gospel is “invite people to church for our illustrated sermon.” The gospel is come to Christ, not come to church. If you are inviting people to church, you need to take a serious look at your Soteriology. (doctrine of salvation)
The Great Commission is very simple: preach the gospel with power. The Kingdom of God is not of talk but of power. I know for a fact that someone with cancer is very interested in the fact that divine healing is part of the atonement. I promise you, they are!
We value Ecclesiology over Missiology
At the end of the day, most believers can tell you about their doctrine of the Church (Ecclesiology) than they can tell their doctrine of missions (Missiology). This is where the real problem lies. They value having coffee in cell groups than they do to actually win the lost and preach the gospel of the Kingdom.
The health of missiology in most churches is concerning. There are very few in most churches that could give a biblical response to what is the Great Commission. George Barna gives even more alarming news that the percentage of evangelicals in Americans that have led someone to Christ is embarrassing low.
The thing that I see happening is our missiology seems to be overflow of our ecclesiology. The reality is it should the other way around. Our view on how the churches operate should be informed by our missiology. The truth is churches should be launching pad, not gathering places.
Do you see the church as a launching pad?