Across the African continent, there have been many conversations about the church’s obligation to obey the Great Commission, but very few about how to actually take the gospel to the nations. It’s time for African churches to develop a clear vision and strategy for engaging in missions faithfully and effectively.
The African church seems to be entering a unique season of gospel advancement on the continent and around the globe. So how can we be intentional in participating in the Great Commission?
Grow in Your Knowledge of God
Unless a congregation is consumed with a red-hot passion for God, they will not be consumed by his mission. Those who are growing in the knowledge of a holy, sovereign God end up captivated by his redemptive plan. These men and women are willing to sacrifice because they recognize that everything that they have is a gift from God (James 1:17).
For example, Christians who understand the depth of human sinfulness recognize that people cannot save themselves. An understanding of sin motivates Christians to go to hard-to-reach places so that others can hear and believe the gospel.
Preach the Gospel with Clarity
On a continent like Africa, where many consider themselves Christians because they grew up religious, it is important that the gospel message is clearly preached. When churches proclaim and live out the gospel and its implications, they will share a burden for the lost. They will feel sympathy for those in unreached places who have not heard the name of Christ. They will be compelled to send preachers to the unreached so that they may hear and believe.
Develop a Strategy for Missions in Your Church
Churches should consider drafting a plan or strategy for how they will obey the Great Commission. Such a document must highlight where your focus and energies will be dedicated. Who will you send and support? Where will you send missionaries? How will you carry out the work? The absence of such clear articulation will lead to a haphazard, ineffective, and possibly unfaithful approach to carrying out the Great Commission.
African churches should consider how they can faithfully steward their resources to reach the lost in their own communities and the unreached people groups on the African continent and around the world. Some churches will focus on missionary endeavors outside of the continent. Others will focus on visiting neighboring countries and regions. Either way, churches should be intentional about planting healthy churches wherever they go.
Pray for Gospel Advancement and Salvation
Our prayers reveal our priorities. We must pray for the gospel to advance in places where it is most needed. We should be committed to praying for those in the trenches and asking God to grant them the boldness to proclaim Christ crucified.
We must pray for the gospel to advance in places where it is most needed.
Churches should be intentional about praying for open doors and the salvation of souls. We should continually pray for Great Commission efforts among us and other churches. This keeps the fire of the Great Commission burning in the people’s hearts.
Invest in Training Servant Leaders
One of the reasons churches do not feel burdened to participate and send people for missions is that they do not have people to send. They do not have people to send because they do not invest in training people for missional living.
Churches that participate in the Great Commission have a culture of discipleship, training others, and investing in their growth and ministry preparation. Practically, this may mean that a church takes on pastoral interns, supports someone through theological training, or helps members gain access to contextualized resources. In order to obey the Great Commission, churches must identify, train, and send faithful missionaries.
Churches that participate in the Great Commission have a culture of discipleship, training others, and investing in their growth and ministry preparation.
Partner with Other Churches to Advance the Gospel
The Great Commission is not for one local church. It is not about growing your theological tribe or denomination. The Great Commission is about proclaiming the kingdom of God. Churches must, therefore, pursue partnership in gospel work.
Whether financially supporting another church’s efforts or sending members of your church to go and serve with another church, we are called to partner with others. Either way, the kingdom of God advances. The goal is not to advance your local church, but to proclaim the name of Jesus among all nations.