"Go everywhere, teach people how to follow me" - New International Church Mystic Version
What do we mean when we point to Jesus command to go into all the world and preach the gospel?
I heard a man say that it isn't practical for us to go into all the world and, at a brush, this seems true. After all, how can we procure the funds (much less the time) to travel that much. So what is our solution? In recent history, the answer has been to donate our money to those who have devoted their lives to doing this - "going" - and it worked (sorta). We felt good about giving our money (I mean, that's kind of like "going") and they had the funds necessary to do what they felt called to do (not going to get into whether all funds are used correctly or not...that's just too big of a topic for one blog post). But is this true? Is this the world we live in?
The reality is that this blog has been read all over the world. So, practically, I have "gone into all the world" more than Joe Shmoe who gave 600% more than me last year to missions work. I don't want to come across as someone who devalues donating to missions work - this is good. I only want to point out that in the twenty-first century, our power of influence is different. We don't necessarily have to be present in a country to have an effect. As a matter of fact, we likely don't need to do much other than continually contribute our voices for the Kingdom of God - however that may be.
The reality of the Great Commission for the post-modern church is that we have new options and, furthermore, we have new issues to connect with. Instead of trying to give you a laundry list of things we should be concerned with, I would rather just say this:
Jesus' command to go everywhere was much more about growing Christ followers, not adding to the number of people who mark "Christian" on social surveys. The church today needs to shift gears from "spreading the word" to cultivating mini-Jesus's. Being a Christian is far more about crafting your life to look like Jesus' life than it is to get people to sign up for something. The command to go tell people doesn't have to mean that you need to literally say anything. In fact, it has been my experience in America that most people see Christ in your life before you say you follow him (if you're doing it right). It is those that seem to need to tell you that they are Christian that I hold suspect. But this is true for many areas of our lives. It isn't the athlete who boasts about his skills that is most revered but the athlete who performs incredibly well. So too should we strive to be the best Christian we can and let our lives speak for us. Should we talk about Jesus? Yes. Every chance you get. But over-stepping your bounds to create "chances" is antithetical to the natural way that Christ ministered to the hurting of this world.
There are many many ways that this blog post could go, but instead of chasing them all out, I'd rather say this to you:
Are you 'telling' people about Christ with your life? Are you teaching them what it means to be a Christian? or are you resting on your laurels and hoping that your obedience to worship attendance will suffice when all is said and done. Can we go into all the world? Yes, now we can. But let's do it with the premise that our purpose is to grow the Kingdom of Christ, not simply add to our numbers.