Next, we read that the Lord speaks to Paul in a vision saying, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you” (Acts 18:9-10). The Lord’s command echoes Christ’s promise in Matthew 28 that he will be with us. So what does Paul do next? Acts 18:11 says “he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”
Looking at this one example from Paul’s ministry, we see that Paul’s mission was the same as the church’s mission—to make disciples by baptizing and teaching them. He spent a year and a half in Corinth preaching the gospel, baptizing believers and teaching them to obey God’s Word. He was following what Jesus commanded in the Great Commission. And Paul’s mission is the same as the church’s mission, and it is still our mission today.
Therefore, from the beginning of the church in Acts 2, we see the church set out to fulfill its Great Commission mission to make disciples. Throughout the remainder of the history of the early church, this mission continues to play out.
The apostles go throughout the world making disciples by sharing the good news, baptizing believers and teaching them to obey Jesus.
KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE MISSION
While few Christians would deny that making disciples is part of the mission of the church, reputable scholars still cannot seem to agree on what exactly the primary mission of the church is.2
So while they may include disciple-making, they also elevate other things like creation care, social renewal or church sacraments to the same level or above the primary mission Jesus gave us.
We miss the mark when we take good things and make them primary things.
If you try to do everything, you will accomplish nothing.
The mission of the church must be focused on keeping the main thing the main thing.
If we do not keep the focus on what Christ commanded us to do, then we will drift into a vague, directionless existence that accomplishes nothing.
Jesus sent us to go to all nations to make disciples by baptizing new believers and teaching them to obey God’s commands.
The argument between whether this means that the church should focus on sharing the good news or doing good works is circular. We are sent to do both.
Evangelism is a prerequisite of baptism because they will not believe if they do not hear (Rom 10:17). And our love for others that compels us to serve is the fruit of our love for God and obedience to his commands (1 John 4:19-20).
The mission of the church is a paradox. It’s not just good news, and it’s not just good works. It is a combination of both in the call to make disciples.
This article originally appeared here.