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Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) - "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, 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.”
I'm sure when it first sank in for the disciples what Jesus meant, that He wanted them to take this good news from their scared little group to the ends of the earth, they had to be just a little overwhelmed and maybe even wonder if He was serious. How would they possibly go about this task that seems to be far more than they could ever accomplish?
The answer is the Church.
The vehicle through which God wants to provide answers for every problem in the world is the Christ-centered, bible-teaching, disciple-making church and this has to be the central focus of our lives on mission. There are unlimited human needs around the world and while it is never a bad thing to have a heart to directly meet those needs, the most effective way to meet all the needs of the world is through churches planting churches.
We can give our lives to so many "good" things but these things can begin to dominate our time. Missionaries know that if they lived to simply meet physical needs where they are they would impact the lives of some but they wouldn't scratch the surface of the real problems. The church and the gospel is what changes lives, communities, and our world. It's not enough to be good people doing good things. We have to live to share the gospel in the context of the communal church. This keeps us from being the hope for those we are trying to reach and allows God to shine forth beyond their troubles and show them that if believers in their area will band together God will use them together to meet all of their worlds needs. This is true across the World, in North America, and in our home towns.
- How can God use churches planting churches to meet the needs in a community far better than the missional efforts of those outside of a community?
- How does planting churches simplify our missional objectives and how does it help what we do "here" if we are planting churches "there?"
- Pray that we be a reproducible, church-planting, church.
- Pray that we never give up on the Bride of Christ in all of her challenges and that we always pour our greatest resources and efforts into her health and success as the great hope for the world.
- Pray for North American missionaries who are planting churches. Pray for strength and direction that comes from God and pray for the fruit of their labor.