Does the Great Commission Apply to Me?

Are pastors the only ones who are obligated to obey the Great Commission? If you observe the workings of a typical church today it does appear so. Of course, there may be sermons designed to produce guilt in anyone not doing it, but little attention is given to training the sheep how to reproduce.

Some designated "altar workers" receive inquirers who may be coaxed down the aisle during an "altar call." Formal training for these is rare, however. They are so designated because they stand out in the congregation as "mature Christians."

Many churches are more church-centered rather than lost-centered. In conversations with some pastors it becomes apparent it is more important to get people to the church before, or instead of, getting them to Jesus. Members of that church are not focused on personally guiding someone to a commitment to Christ. Bring them to church and then the pastor can convert them.

Author David W. Daniels says that this may be partly caused by a change in the wording of the Great Commission in the modern Bible. The preserved Bible, the King James, instructs us to go and "teach" or "preach" the gospel. But most of the modern versions say to "make disciples." We are "commissioned" to go and present the gospel whether someone surrenders to the process of discipleship or not. Disciples are mostly seen to be made primarily in the church. But we are "commissioned" to go out to next-door and to the ends of the earth and simpy present the gospel.

This puts the responsibility upon all of us. We can pass off the "discipling" to the church, but we cannot escape our part. In order to teach or preach, we must learn. We must know why we are committed to the Kingdom of God and be able to communicate it. That is what "witness" means: to testify of what God has done for us and what He is ready to do for anyone else.

Our own story is a powerful way to start sharing the gospel. But that should only be the beginning. Proverbs tells us to get knowledge and wisdom, which is a lifetime endeavor. If we pursue it, we will be increasingly useful to the Kingdom in obeying the Great Commission.

But wherever we are in the process, there is work to do. No one can opt out. That is the beauty of gospel tracts. No matter where we are in our own discipleship, we can still "teach" and "preach" even though we may not be ready to "make disciples."

With one Chick tract you can both teach and preach. The booklet format provides 20 pages of teaching through an engaging story. Then there is room at the end for a full "altar call" so that there is no confusion on what the reader must do to get right with God.