Observations on Theology, Culture and the Hosier family

Monday, 9 March 2009

MARS HILL CHURCH PLANTING CONFERENCE (4)

Scott Thomas: The Call of the Great Commission

Jesus said, “Love me, love my bride.”

What is the condition of the church?

In the US 3,500 churches close every year. The number of megachurches is increasing, but the total number of people attending church is declining. The church has cut itself off from most of the population. How do we cross the barriers?

The answer is in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:20). The four main verbs in the commission are:
• Go
• Make disciples
• Baptize
• Teach

Of these making disciples is the key – we go in order to make disciples; we baptize people who are going to be disciples; we teach people in order that they might be disciples.

The church too often functions as a big cushion:
• A retreat centre
• Fellowship driven not mission driven
• Worship a la carte
• Preachers without courage
• Mission is for other lands

Rather than being fat cushions we need to be pacesetters. The pacesetter pastor:
• Keeps the mission of Jesus as the focus of the gathered community
• Is focussed on reaching all nations

The only way we can go to all nations is by going with the presence of Jesus. This has always been what is distinctive about the people of God. We need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit – without this we will be defeated in a hurry.

We are called to proclaim the gospel to all nations, in the power of the Spirit. (Luke 24:46-49; John 20:21-23)

Church planting is the inevitable result of going, making disciples, baptizing and teaching. The great commission is a commission to plant churches – going with the gospel will result in churches. We need to get the order right in this though – our motivation shouldn’t be to produce another Mars Hill; our motivation should be to proclaim the gospel.

How does planting a church fulfil the great commission? Every church should be a planting church – there should be a continuing cycle of churches planting churches, and so by reaching all nations.

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