Essays on God’s Mandate for the Local Church
“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” (Matt. 28:18-20, NASB).
With these words, Jesus gave to his disciples their marching orders. They were to take the gospel to all people groups in the world, and they were to teach them that they, too, might become devoted disciples of Christ. These orders remain just as relevant to us today as they were to the disciples. We, too, are expected to do the work of the Great Commission—taking the gospel to the world, baptizing believers, and teaching them to obey God. Yet, the majority of North American churches are plateaued in growth, with little commitment to reaching their neighbors or the world. In this series of practical essays, faculty and staff members of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary challenge churches to re-focus their attention on the Great Commission. Our prayer is that you, the reader, will accept God’s mandate for you and your church.