The word “earth” residing in the context of the Great Commission means a great deal to me because for many years I was disobedient and it was for me the “great omission. ” Acts 1:8 is one of the five times that Jesus gave the imperative command to “go to the ends of the earth” with the gospel. An imperative command is the same command a parent would give to a child playing in the street, “Get out of the street, right now!” As a pastor and Outreach coordinator, I was shocked that churches today are not utilizing effective means to reach the lost in their community thus ignoring Jesus’ imperative command to “GO!”
Over 50% of those polled from ages 25 to 69 are open to someone coming to their door to invite them to church even though less than 4% of churches nationwide have an active Outreach program.1 That means that 96% of the people in our nation with churches in their community will never have someone come to their home to invite them to church. And the vast majority of these people are frequently open to visitation, yet no one will come to their homes. Even more surprising, the majority of those aged 18 to 69 are more open to door-to-door invitations than advertising’s in the mail, in the newspaper, or on TV or radio. The result is that there are millions of unreached people who have never once had anyone come to their door to share the gospel with them and invite them to church.
When Jesus used the term “earth” as being part of the Great Commission, He was commanding the church to go to even “the ends of the earth” the Greek word for earth meant the entire earth that was inhabited (Acts 1:8, ESV). Even though I am an unpaid under-shepherd at my church due to financial constraints, I still feel compelled to do Outreach activities in the community, do door-to-door evangelism, visit church members, contacting former and non-active members, members parents in nursing homes, contacting business and community leaders such as the local thrift store, and the local District Representative in the Kansas House All of this in the city and the surrounding areas that the Mulvane Brethren Church resides in, in Mulvane, Kansas. I also work 30 hours per week as a Janitor and work with a former homeless man that I found government subsidized housing and presently taking him to doctor, disability hearings, food stamps, supplying him with non-paid by welfare items such as toiletries and more. Even though I have had Bronchitis from exposure to chemicals at work for about 3 weeks now I feel burdened to go. All of this while I work on my master’s at Southern California Seminary. Please understand that I am not bragging. I speak with people who, among the 75% of such believe they are going to heaven without a relationship with Jesus Christ; they are on their way to hell. Even so, I still “GO!” Jeremiah 20:9 explains it: “But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.“
There is no power in the messenger but there is real power in the message (Acts 1:8). I beseech you, I plead with you, and I beg you to “GO!” into your own ends of the earth; your neighborhood, your family, your co-workers, your friends. Please take up the mantle of the Great Commission with me. And go to the “ends of the earth” even if it’s in your own block.
1. “Missional Research: Center for Missional Research. ” North American Mission Board. 2011. Internet. Available: http://www.namb.net/namb1cb2col.aspx?id=8590001079. Accessed July 29, 2011
Originally published on Every Day Christian Blogs
For more on the Great Commission read Jonah and the Great Fish: A Bible Study and Commentary