The Starting Points
For the past few weeks during our Made for a Mission sermon series, we have been hearing a repeated call to embrace Jesus’ mission to make disciples of all nations. How will you respond? How will you get involved? If every Christian truly is called to be a world Christian, what will that look like in your life? Where should you get started?
Many of us immediately jump to the more difficult questions: is God calling me to quit my job, sell my things, and move to live among an unreached people group to share the Gospel? Before even getting to that point, however, I want to suggest there are three essential disciplines that all Great Commission Christians ought to be practicing. We can call these “The Starting Points” of becoming a world Christian. These are non-negotiables in the Christian life, especially if we truly embrace Jesus’ call to make disciples of all nations.
All Great Commission Christians are called to the discipline of strategic prayer.
We are all called to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but what would it look like for our prayer lives to be shaped by the Great Commission? Let me make a suggestion: start small and stay consistent. Pick a people group, a country, or a missionary to start praying for on a regular basis and stick with it. Try to get as much information as possible to help inform your prayers. Check out resources like Operation World and Pray for the World to become informed about the needs and requests from those places.
All Great Commission Christians are called to the discipline of sacrificial giving.
Giving back a portion of what God has blessed us with is an important act of worship in the Christian life. However, what if we all decided to start giving until it hurts so that the Gospel could advance into new people groups? What if we began to view our giving as a vital part of our participation in the Great Commission? I know one thing: I wouldn’t have to hear nearly as often that someone wants to go to the nations but can’t because of a lack of funding.
All Great Commission Christians are called to the discipline of intentional witness.
Most of us dream of the opportunity that Paul had when he was asked, “What must I do to be saved?” in Acts 16 (well, aside from the fact that he was in prison). We are eager to share the Gospel if someone would just ask! However, what would it look like for us to begin taking the initiative to build relationships and share the Gospel to make disciples of all nations? How would you need to reorganize your schedule and your priorities to become more intentional in sharing your faith with those who are far from God? Few followers of Jesus would say that they don’t want to make disciples, but we must seek opportunities and we must ask the Lord for boldness to share the good news.
Before we worry about God’s specific calling on our lives and the slice of the Great Commission He’s calling us to pursue, let’s make sure we are engaging in the essential disciplines of a Great Commission Christian. Let’s lay the foundation of strategic prayer, sacrificial giving, and intentional witness.
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Dustin Speaks is the Mission Mobilization Pastor. He and his wife, Lauren, arrived in Columbus in the fall of 2012, after several initial ministry experiences. Dustin previously served as an associate pastor in South Dakota and as a missionary to university students in Berlin, Germany. Dustin studied history at Ohio University, where he met Lauren, and was involved in campus ministry with Cru. After graduation, the Speaks went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago) to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. He enjoys playing nearly all ball sports—basketball, golf, and soccer are his favorites. Dustin and Lauren have three young children.