THE ENORMITY OF THE TASK
The mandate given to the church was to make disciples of all nations. All nations represent a wide and almost endless variety of cultures. A mere cursory glance at the Great Commission many times causes the reader to underestimate the enormity of the task outlined in this divine mandate. For many believers the emphasis has just been on “getting the word out” and “sowing the seed” with complete disregard to the problem of cultural differences, claiming that “people are people wherever one goes.”
However, more and more it is being realized that one can only effectively communicate to people of other cultures if the culture of the others is understood. It is said that we can never effectively communicate the gospel to those who do not understand what we are saying. Therefore, it is now being understood and taught that the actual carrying out of the Great Commission is not as easy as once thought. Contrary to popular belief the actual task of evangelism calls for more than just verbalization of the truth, it goes beyond, it calls for an immersion of oneself into the culture one is attempting to reach. It calls for living with the people in an effort to truly learn their culture and their ways. There must be an identifying of oneself with the respondent-culture.
Teaching and discipling all nations are much more involved and complicated than we have made it appear. Certainly, this is what our Lord and Savior did in the incarnation and repeatedly calls upon the church to do as He did in order to reach the nations for Him — become incarnational.
Here in the Northeast and in Bermuda we intentionally seek not just to be missional but more and more we are understanding that to be missional involves being incarnational. There must be a willingness to sit where they sit, even helping to mobilize action that produces improvement in people’s lives and conditions. We keep in mind that Christ envisioned a holistic church and ministry and that we should intentionally endeavor to produce and model the same. We cannot reach them without deliberate efforts to get as close as we possibly can to them in order to disciple them and win them with the eternal message of God’s undying love and “shalom.”
This divine mandate given to the church of all ages is neither optional nor changeable. It definitely calls for a radical change of mindset, a deeper understanding of surrounding cultures, more cultural sensitivity and a renewed commitment to actually reaching the masses we were literally sent to reach and evangelize. May we become a real “Jesus” church again — going amongst the people in order to reach the people! The task is monumental but by His empowering grace we rise to meet every challenge, knowing that it was exactly for this purpose we were sent here!
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop — Northeast Region
September 19, 2020
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region