The mission of the church, as commissioned by Jesus, has been before us for close to 2,000 years. His people, empowered by the Spirit, and motivated by the love, grace and truth of our Lord, are to go to all peoples and proclaim the Good News, which brings transformation. The mission’s fruit is to see disciplined followers of Jesus developed, who in obedience are baptized and observe all that Jesus commanded as they, too, go and make disciples. This cycle of disciple-making indicates that the mission is being fulfilled.
It is always good to be reminded that the giver of this commission is the “Lord of the harvest,” the One who oversees this mission. Our responsibility is to obediently hear the call and follow the Spirit’s guidance as we participate alongside the Lord’s entire body.
Here’s the thing—the entire mission does not rest on one person, one church, one group of churches, one Christian communion or even one generation of Christians. It is way bigger than any of those. The Lord calls, and we respond, as have millions before us, and hundreds of millions more are doing even as I write. All His people, called by His name, whatever their “branding” is, are chosen to be witnesses to those in the multiple contexts He sends them to.
In many Christian circles, 2033 is being commemorated as the 2,000th anniversary of the death and resurrection of Jesus, His ascension, and His outpouring of the Spirit on His church to fulfil His mission. This has resulted in a unified understanding in many parts of the global church that the Lord of the harvest is calling His people to be “aligned for mission.”
Amid global signs of the times similar to what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24, there is also a recognition of what He stated in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
A decade-long, multi-component focus, pointed towards a unified mission that would see the gospel of the kingdom preached in the whole world, is taking place. For instance, the Pentecostal World Fellowship Executive and Advisory, at the Pentecostal World Conference in Korea, passed a resolution calling on Spirit-empowered congregations across the globe to focus on fulfilling the Great Commission by 2033. The resolution reads:
The Pentecostal World Fellowship encourages its members to work towards fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation. We affirm the numerous 2033 initiatives focused on “Everyone” hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We call upon our member congregations to mobilize prayer, leadership, compassion, and resources to contact every unreached person. We believe the next ten years will be the greatest decade of fulfilling the mandate of Jesus as together, empowered by the Spirit, we proclaim the “Good News” and establish new churches.
This re-personalization of sharing the gospel calls for a focus to go to “Everyone” by everyone. Personal witness and evangelism is not optional for a people committed to the mission given by our Lord. The evangelists among God’s people will be called on to be equippers of all believers, along with fulfilling their distinct calling to reach the unreached. Ministries that facilitate evangelism in secularized contexts, such as Alpha, envision enhanced partnerships that will allow for greater fruitfulness.
This call to “Everyone” is essential for the church multiplication movements envisioned over the coming years. The World Assemblies of God Fellowship, in its MM33 initiative is, by faith, strategizing for a total of one million churches by 2033. Aligned multiplication network endeavours need to be front and centre as our various movements partner together for kingdom increase of disciple-making communities, as seen in other initiatives such as “Finishing the Task” led by Rick Warren and the FINISH initiative of the Church of God and the Global Church Network. FINISH calls on churches to Find, Intercede, Network, Invest, Send and Harvest.
Running like a spine through all of these initiatives are prayer movements such as World Prays, whose mission is Every Church in Every Nation a House of Prayer. Prayer movements are seeking to be electronically linked as they pray for every nation, community and person on the planet. In the coming season, prayer movements will need to consciously focus on the primary mission of the church and not be distracted by secondary focuses.
By faith, picture with me church movements and resource ministries aligned for mission—globally, nationally, regionally and locally. Marked by first love, prayer and intercession, the people of God together proclaim the gospel through personal witness and co-operative evangelism. Every believer participates in unity with justice and sacrificial service. Empowered by the Spirit, vital churches multiply as disciple-making communities.
The good news is that our Lord, by the Spirit, is at work globally in ways that we cannot think or imagine. Let us determine to align with the Lord of the harvest and His people, of every descriptor and context, to see this gospel of the kingdom preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Enable us to align our hearts, minds and strategies with Yours and those who love You so that together we may see Your mission fulfilled in multiple transformed lives. For Your glory, Amen.
This article appeared in the January/February/March 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.