For all the bravado in our Christian churches to be missional, to make disciples of all nations, I feel like the pep rally is growing louder and louder to be missional discipling churches but I find myself more and more doubtful of our noise. It was Jesus who gave us the Great Commission when he said to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20,
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This is my go to passage for the mission of the church. Mission for the church didn’t start in this passage, it started back in Genesis and permeates the entire Scriptures, but for any church following Jesus this is our mission. Maybe everything in our church should be viewed through this lens of what we are doing as the church. But I often doubt if we are making the right kind of progress, what about you? Humanity is too broken. My friend’s lives are too messed up. My own inner world struggles with continual sin. I don’t always love my neighbor.
I have found great hope recently about the Great Commission because the first disciples of Jesus were in a place of doubt when they heard it. Have you noticed the verses located just before the Great Commission in Matthew 28? Matthew 28:16-17 says this,
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. ——————————————————————————————————————————-> Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I don’t know what they doubted….the resurrection, the purpose of Jesus, or maybe the re-establishment of the Jewish nation. Whatever it was they specifically doubted, they did. They had doubts. Do you have doubts? I have found comfort as a follower of Jesus that I don’t need perfect intellectual understanding of Jesus, or His mission. It’s OK to struggle and question my way through it. Doubt did not lead those first disciple to inaction…and it does not lead me to inaction but it gives encouragement to my reality.
Pep rallies for our mission are important. Vision casting for the Great Commission in the church is needed. Aligning our practices to be on mission and disciple making is required but I will also move forward in doubt — just like those first followers. How about you?by