Baptist principles 5: Mission
The final part of the Declaration of Principle reads:
‘That it is the duty of every disciple to bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to take part in the evangelization of the world.’
- How do we feel about this ‘duty’? Some of us are not natural evangelists, where others are. But we are all called to ‘bear witness’.
Read Matthew 28: 16-20
Jesus gave the commission to those who doubted, not just those who were sure.
Our English translations say, ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations’. How do we ‘make’ disciples?
A direct translation from the Greek reads: ‘Going therefore you disciple all the nations’. In other words, it is ‘as we go’ or as we live, as disciples, that we disciple others.
- Does this sound more, or less challenging?
- How did we first here the gospel message?
- What can we learn about our own mission from the way we were first given the good news?
Read: Phil. 4:4-9
- How does ‘letting your gentleness be known to all’ bear witness to the Gospel?
- ‘Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice’ (v9). How much of our mission is based on what we say, or what we do?
- Paul is writing from prison, he lived in a dark and violent world, yet he tells the church to rejoice, and to think on ‘whatever is true…’ How does what we think impact the way we act?
The Baptist Missionary Society was founded in 1792, at a time when some Baptists believed that we shouldn’t be giving the gospel message to people. Yet the BMS has gone from strength to strength, working in about 30 countries and working in education, health care, disaster relief, church planting, theological training, agriculture and more.
- As a church, do you support BMS or another missionary society? If you support BMS do you have mission partners (link between particular missionaries and yourselves), and if so, do you know who they are?
- In our church meetings, or prayer meetings, how much time is given to seeking God about the mission of the church, and what we can do? – Is it high enough on our agenda?
Some years ago, the minister was clearing brambles away from the church footpaths. A church leader was confused, ‘we don’t pay you to do that!’ The minister replied, ‘It’s part of mission.’ The church leader was even more confused, ‘But it isn’t telling people about Jesus or getting them into church’.
- Is mission getting people into our church, or us getting out to the people?
Is there a difference between evangelism (as in preaching the gospel message and inviting a response) and discipling people? In your experience, which seems more effective?