“As a community of disciple-makers towards the Great Commission….”
That’s how we end most worship gatherings at Kossuth. But what is the Great Commission? It comes from Jesus' final charge to his disciples in Matthew 28.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 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."
Matthew 28:16-20 ESV (emphasis added)
If you understand the Great Commission as not simply to tell more people about Jesus, but specifically a desire for people from nations that don’t yet have disciples among them to hear about Jesus, then you do missionary work differently. We want our kids to know Jesus. We want our neighbors to know Jesus. We want college students to know Jesus. But a big part of why we want all those people to know Jesus is so they can help take the good news of Jesus to groups of people that have never been reached with that news.
We serve a limitless God. But that infinite God has chosen to work through us, a church with a lot of limits. Because we’re limited in people, time, and money, we have to be organized and have a strategy for how we do missions work together.
But how do we look at and revise that strategy?
The elders and the mission team have spent time over the last year studying scripture, praying, reading books, taking classes, and talking to missionaries and agencies. God is doing so many things! But what would He have for us?
We’re still asking God that question. But we’re learning much even in asking the question. I invite you to ask that question for yourself, your family, and for our whole church. Join us.
One way to start is to explore a couple of resources that have expanded my view of how God works. The elders attended The Gospel Coalition annual conference this year. One of the breakout sessions that was a great encouragement to me was entitled "The Role of the Local Church in 21st-Century Missions" by David Platt. (You can watch the session at the video link below.)
At the time of the conference, Platt’s ministry also released a tool called Stratus. I think of Stratus as "Moneyball for Missions." If you’re familiar with the book, Moneyball, about using statistics in baseball, you’ll get the analogy.
Not everything involved with missions can be quantified in statistics and rolled up into a number. But I do think it can help give us a common language, some common goals, and—to keep with the baseball analogy—help us know if we’re even in the right ballpark.
For example, I analyzed the mission portion of our church budget using Stratus. Platt claims a statistic that within the broader church, less than 1% of mission dollars goes toward unreached people groups. I looked up every country where we support missionaries and where they rank on the Stratus index. Just under 5% of our church’s budget (our entire budget, not just the portion we classify as missions) goes towards unreached and difficult to reach countries.
So I think that’s pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised. However, I don’t think it’s enough. I think we’ve got a great start, but I also think we’re just getting started. If we’re going to send money and more importantly some of our dear friends, our young people, our very children even, we should send them to places that won’t otherwise hear the good news.
So watch the video below. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with Stratus. And shoot me an email. I'd love to share with you more of how we’re putting your dollars to work globally and how you can get involved in this Great Commission work.