In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This passage is known as “The Great Commission”.
For nearly 2,000 years, this verse has been the basis for all Christian missionaries who have ever been sent all over the world. They have learned thousands of foreign languages so that they could preach the good news of Jesus Christ to every distinct “people group” on earth. I think most other Christians thought of this as referring only to missionaries who were sent to third world countries. They were going to preach the gospel to people who had never heard of Jesus Christ.
Is an English-speaking church in Medellin fulfilling the Great Commission?
But now, as I think about why God called us to Medellin, I realize that our mission here is also part of the Great Commission. Why?
- First, to share the gospel with those who have not yet repented and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ (Evangelism).
- Second, to establish an English-speaking Christian community of believers to help and pray for one another. This is very much like a church family in an American Christian church (Fellowship).
- Third, to “disciple” our fellow believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Discipleship).
Therefore, working through us as we obediently follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit is “making disciples” within the English-speaking communities of Medellin. This is exactly the same process the Holy Spirit uses to make disciples throughout the world.
Granted, many if not most of the people we meet here have probably heard the name of Jesus. They may have even attended a church service in North America or their home country. Nevertheless, they will all be separated from God for eternity unless they hear the Gospel, become convicted that they are sinners, repent of their sin, and trust Jesus Christ for their salvation.
And what I just realized this week is that most English-speakers are not conversational in Spanish. So, there is no way a Spanish-speaking Christian could reach them with the Gospel in a way they would understand. That is a role only an English-speaking believer can fill. And that is a major part of the reason God wants an English-speaking church in Medellin.
How Does Grace Church Medellin Participate in the Great Commission?
Recently, I read an article titled “9 Ministries That Satisfy The Great Commission”. (See below for details of the author.) I found it interesting that out of the 9 Ministries, Grace Church Medellin is already working in 4 of them. And as God brings growth to our group, we will eventually have regular worship and preaching services, and that will add a 5th Ministry. Just based on that, we are definitely participating in fulfilling the Great Commission. Here are the ministries Grace Church is currently doing:
- Small Group Studies
We have weekly Bible Studies in our members’ homes or apartments. These studies include time for fellowship, Bible study, singing, prayer, and lots of discussion that larger settings don’t offer.
- Individual Discipleship
Spending time one on one with a fellow believer, opening our Bibles together and learning how to become more like Christ, is the most effective way to make a disciple.
- Church planting
In our case, we are trying to reach people from our culture who choose to live in a different culture. So we are really the best ones available to reach out to our fellow English-speakers, many of whom are really our fellow countrymen from North America.
- Reproduction (or Multiplying)
The Great Commission is about “disciplering”. That is a made-up word that means making disciples who make disciples. And that is one of our long-term goals. This will, of course, require many more Christians who are committed to evangelize, disciple, and yes, even send out missionaries to other cities in Colombia and perhaps other countries. And we are working in many ways to get the word out about how others can join us in this work.
God is planting a new church in Medellin through those He has called. We are delighted and humbled that He has chosen to work through us to accomplish His plan. And we hope we may be the first of many such churches for English-speakers. Medellin is a very large city, and there are thousands of English-speakers living full or part-time here.
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This is the link to the article “9 Ministries That Satisfy The Great Commission”.