What Is The Great Commission?

Why Missions Matter

For many, missions are a relatively small part of their faith and involvement with the Church. Missions feel inaccessible and far off–the elite calling of a courageous few. But missions are far more central biblically and far more accessible to every believer than most realize. Let’s look at the birth of the movement, as well as the heart and power behind this calling that offers purpose and joy to all Jesus–followers! 


The Birth of Missions

The missions movement, taking the message of Jesus to all people, was born out of Jesus’ command given to His followers after His resurrection. Jesus had spent 40 days teaching His disciples the meaning of His death and resurrection, enlightening them about God’s great plan and encouraging their hearts. After this, He said it was time for Him to ascend to heaven, but He wouldn’t leave them as orphans–He would send the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to them (John 14:26). After telling His followers to wait in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), Jesus then gave them this mission, commonly referred to as the Great Commission:

"And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations [Greek: ethnos], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." 

Jesus’ mandate to His followers was then, as it is now, to take the Good News of who He is, what He has done, and how He is coming again, to all people groups. What we now call missions was central and definitive to Christianity’s birth. It was not merely one small component. “Go” was the first word of Jesus’s command, and it continues to be the underlying spirit of all we do as we share the love of Jesus. Whether that means going down the street or crossing oceans, followers of Jesus are told to give this heavenly invitation to everyone. “Come and hear about the One called Jesus!” 


The Power of the Movement

It is evident through missions efforts that have taken place over the past 2000 years that we need the Holy Spirit to minister in the love and power of Jesus. The interaction of the Holy Spirit with people, or “Moves of the Spirit” and missions are inextricably linked. Throughout history, telling the unreached who Jesus is has been accompanied by miracles and people turning to God in repentance, sometimes called “revival.” Likewise, powerful moves of the Holy Spirit result in missions movements. Just like on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit inspires and empowers believers to declare the wonders of Jesus to every tribe and in every tongue.


God loves displaying His power as evidence of His love and goodness to those who have never seen or heard it. In fact, the most remarkable accounts of miracles come from the frontlines of the mission field. The words of Jesus and the activity of the Holy Spirit confirm this is our calling as Christians: Go and make disciples of all people!


The Heart of the Movement

Each emerging Christian mission movement has sought to obey this command by spreading the gospel message to the ends of the earth. Christians have sacrificed much, given extravagantly, and rejoiced greatly as they answer heaven’s call. Missions always involve risk, sacrifice, and the challenges of learning humility as different cultures collide across language barriers. A living understanding of Jesus’s worth and His love for all people makes the challenges worth the sacrifice.


There are countless Christians who have embodied this spirit of missions. For example, in 1732, two young German missionaries from Moravia were willing to sell themselves into slavery to reach an island of unreached people in the West Indies. As they waved emotional goodbyes to their family from the boat, uncertain if they would ever see them again, they famously shouted across the growing distance, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!” In other words, let Jesus, the One who gave His life to redeem us, receive the prize He is worthy of– the love of all! Many mission movements throughout the ages have had similar cries– At the heart of all missions is Jesus’s worth, the transformational power of the Good News, and an urgency that every person should hear! 


Your Part in Missions

You, too, can declare Jesus’s worth to those who have never heard and witness for yourself the testimonies pouring in from people hearing about Jesus for the first time. The ministry of Guidelines enables people from every walk of life and region to play a crucial role in translating and broadcasting the Good News to access unreached regions or support small emerging local churches. And today, just like on the day of Pentecost, what we need most to fulfill this God-given mandate is willing disciples with a vision of Jesus’s love and worth, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  


You can Adopt a Language to champion bringing hope in Jesus to an entire region and people group. Choose one of 26 languages, most spoken in unreached regions. Your gifts fund translation work and the cost of producing and broadcasting the Gospel on radio and online. These are essential resources for new and persecuted believers, and those with no other way to hear! 


Sign up today to make Jesus known! This work is commissioned by Jesus Himself, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and culminates in God’s epic plan for humanity. 

In the words of Pat Morely, “If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small.”

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