THE GREAT COMMISSION!
“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,” (Matthew 28:19). These words found in Matthew 28 form what is readily known among us as the Great Commission which indeed continues to define the mission of the Church in every age, culture, season and environment. Even today in the twenty-first century the mission of the church remains unmistakably clear. It has not changed.
Contrary to modern thinking and practice, the church is not to clothe herself with the so-called trappings of luxury and tell the world to come, but even in these Covid-19 times, she is divinely mandated to go, to remain a “sent” church, a body of people “sent” on a mission. We are the “commissioned,” compelled to make disciples and to bring as many as possible into fellowship with the crucified Christ and risen Savior.
Never was the mandate given for the church to become attractional and accommodating to the fancies of the world. She was specifically called out to be missional, incarnational, messianic and apostolic. The message must be preached and lived with a view to persuading humankind to repent and believe the good news, so that they too will be converted and receive everlasting life. Therefore, the Christian church today is not without an agenda. Now is no time for the church to become sidetracked or deflected from her supreme mission. May we always keep foremost in mind “missio Dei” is “missio ecclesiae” — the mission of God is the mission of the Church. We are not at liberty to set our own agenda or to rearrange or misrepresent the express wishes of Divinity.
Jesus instructed His disciples to preach the good news and to disciple men and women from all walks and stations of life. He commanded global evangelization. No excuse or rationalizing is permitted! The church must think globally while it functions locally. Every effort must be expended with urgency to get this monumental task accomplished. As the commission is meticulously obeyed and followed, His promised presence is guaranteed and how we need the presence of the Lord in these last days of difficult, unprecedented and unconventional times!
To think just about reaching our own particular culture, class and ethnicity is woefully insufficient. To think about global outreach and to forget about the neighbor next door whether they are Haitian, Mexican or Indian . . . is also woefully deficient. Jesus desires for the disciple to so passionately love Him that this love spills over for the neighbor next door and those far away.
Evangelism is all-inclusive! It puts away racism, classism, sexism and ageism. It deliberately continues to break down barriers that separate humanity one from the other. It radically carries the message of God’s transforming love to all of God’s creation. It proclaims the absolutely revolutionary message of the reign of God, which is not only to come but which has effectively broken in right now.
The Early Church with great missionary zeal, vigorously evangelized their then known world in spite of great opposition and against seemingly insurmountable odds. Convinced and empowered by their message, they steadfastly unstoppably moved forward. The church of the twenty-first century here in the Northeast Region & Bermuda can do no less! This we intend to do using all means and methods placed at our disposal. By His prescient and prevailing grace, we the church of 2020 rededicate ourselves to the execution of the Great Commission.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop – Northeast Region
September 12, 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