Christ’s final words after his resurrection and before his ascension to heaven were to his disciples. Called the Great Commandment, it is shown in Matthew 28:16-20.
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “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.” “
It is great in both scope, and importance. It is ambitious, as all great missions are, but to understand it, we must understand the One who gave it. He loves to love. We may not all be missionaries or preachers. We may not all be evangelists or teachers. We may not all write worship songs, and that’s great, because God has equipped us differently. God loves variety. It’s more effective in sharing the gospel. Ephesians 4 tells us that we have different roles but, “from him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” We are different parts of the same body, all with different attributes, and we use the gifts He has given us for His glory, which frees us from the need to compare ourselves with others.
All Christians today are the eventual result of the obedience of those 11 disciples. Because they “made disciples of all nations,” we are now believers. We are the result of an ongoing spiritual set of dominoes. Others influenced and taught us the ways of Christ, and we have the opportunity to carry on that calling, and do the same.
The Great Commandment comes from the great Commander. In John 15:5 Jesus clearly states the important of communion with Him when he says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
You should have godly desires and goals for your ministry but what is God’s will for it? No matter how wise the advice you’ve been given is, or how much experience you have, always seek His direction and blessing. Remain in the vine. Don’t seek Him only when you start something new. Remain. Seek Him always. Don’t become complacent. We can not predict His next move. He may surprise you.
Attempting to build a church or a ministry can become an idol. It can transform into an aim which has a foundation with impure motives, whether that be trying to be bigger or better than another church, or trying to use its growth as a measure of success.
Serving God is a tremendous joy and privilege. It should never be a task we dread, and if it starts to, we must be honest with Him. We all need the rest and refreshment He promises. We may start with noble intentions, but if we are not careful and not open to guidance and encouragement when necessary, ministry can easily become just another task to accomplish. If it doesn’t bear the fruit we expect it to, we may become frustrated and resentful towards others or even God, so we need to guard our heart and be honest. If you’re a leader, no-one expects you to be prefect. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s okay to be worn out at times, but don’t suffer in silence. Don’t give the enemy something to work with. Be accountable. Take a break if need be. Ask for help. (You may be surprised at the willingness of others to assist you.) Rest. Enjoy life, but most importantly – spend time with Him. Remember, the church you attend, even if you’re the pastor, it’s not yours. Just like our money, our time, our marriages and even our bodies aren’t ours. All we have comes from the One who gave it all for us. Return it to Him. Work with God, not just for God.
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
“Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” “