The Great Commission as a way of life!
to “Make Christlike Disciples in the Nations”
The two phrases of the title are key words for the Region of South America. The first is our song of the battle in the SAM Region, and the second is our mission as the Church of the Nazarene at a world level.
“To make Disciples Similar to Christ in the Nations” has two key elements: (1) The fulfilling of the Great Commission in Mathew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8. (2) The calling to spread the message of the Entire Santification in every corner of South America. Where the Church of the Nazarene is, we need to reaffirm our message. Where it’s not, we need to plant the largest possible number and reach those corners where we aren’t there yet.
The phrase “The Great Commission as a way of life” appeared in a group of 40 South American Nazarene leaders. Among them, there were laymen, pastors, district superintendents, teachers, missionaries, and regional administrators. Together we worked in April 2006, and adopted the phrase as our battle song to animate ourselves to get involved in everything we are, and to all South American Nazarenes to fulfill the calling of our Lord Jesus Christ to make Disciples in all the nations.
“The Great Commission as a way of life” has 5 strategic focuses:
1. A deep personal revival: The Lord Jesus Christ before beginning His mission assured Himself to count on the principal tool for the mission: The Holy Spirit. Luke expresses it well: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert. . .” (4:1). “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.” (4:14); “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up… Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor… and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’.” (4:16, 17, 18, 21).
There is no way to “live the Great Commission” without a deep personal revival. We must be similar to Christ!
2. A continuous system of leadership capacitation: Inspite of Jesus’ preaching, teaching, and healing, his primary priority was to find leaders, form them, and enable them to be like He is. After walking and showing the Kingdom to many followers and having called disciples, Jesus came to the point to elect leaders. He chose His leaders in the power of the Spirit. He prayed intensely asking for the direction of God so that He would give Him leaders. Luke expresses it like this: “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles” (Lucas 6:12-13). In Mathew, He does the same, this time He expresses the palpitation of His heart giving a petition of prayer: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Mathew 9:38).
3. Strategies of continuous and contextual evangelism. The first phrase of the Great Commission is to share the “Good News”, THE GOSPEL. Jesus full of the Spirit went out to share the good news: “Jesus went out to the region of Galilee. There He announced the good news about God:” The time that God will reign is near! Come back to God and believe in the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15). This was something that He did all the time. Everywhere He went, He would proclaim His message in a special way for each place. The key was the good new, not the method. Every person that knew Jesus and accepted the good new, received it in different contexts and situations. There are many methods, all of them are good! There are some of them that are not current, and there are other methods that will soon pass by. The key is a person that is filled with the Spirit of God, sharing what he/she has experienced. We can’t stop doing that! We must do it until the end of the world! “. . . But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
4. Integral Plan of Discipleship of Holiness. God doesn’t make us holy so that we would be relics. He makes us holy to show us his love and holiness. We are Christ’s body. We are an important part of His body that has a task to fulfill. The apostle Paul tells us that God created us “In Christ for the good works, in which God prepared in advance that we may walk in them”. As Saints, we must be perfected “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13). Paul invites us, walk “as worthy of the calling which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1). All of us have a calling and must perfect it to the benefit of the church, the body of Christ.
5. Flexible and technological system of communication in all the levels. The apostle Peter tells us who we are, and the reason we exist as believers: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9). We are chosen, royal priesthood, holy to communicate who He is and what Jesus is doing in our midst. How I long to have more space to tell the wonders and the hundreds of victories that God, through Jesus is doing in South America and in all the world through the Church of the Nazarene. God is giving us wonderful tools for this. The Region counts with communication centers that are helping us to gather and tell us what God is doing in us and through us.
Dear brother and/or sister, the vision is clear: “To make disciples similar to Christ in the nations”. The song of the battle, “The Great Commission as a way of life” must resound as we search God, in the search of leaders, in the search of the people that need God, in the search of the special training that He has given to each one of us and in the search to communicate all that He is doing among us.