“The Church at any time is only one generation away from death. Only God’s spirit and the faithful witness of believers keeps it alive for the future.” Unknown author
But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? Romans 10:14
Dwight L. Moody once said that his favorite picture was of a girl clinging to a cross-shaped rock in the midst of the storm-tossed sea. Clinging tightly with both hands she was saved.
Another picture was found that made this first seem almost meaningless by comparison. The picture was almost the same–the same girl, the same storm-tossed sea, the same rugged, cross-like rock. But now the girl clung to the rock with only one hand and with the other reached out to save another from the sea. This is witnessing. This is sharing Christ today: clinging to Christ’s Word tightly and sharing it freely that all may hear and by God’s grace believe and live.
What are you clinging to? To whom are you reaching out?
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore 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 that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18 20
The first and primary mission of each disciple of Jesus Christ has been, is, and will be, until Christ’s return, to invite those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior to know him. All else must support this.
The Great Commission impels us to the practice of invitation or evangelization. It names baptism, it names us, and it becomes the lens through which we are invited to view and approach others. Baptism makes explicit who we are and whose we are: we are God’s. Baptism moves us beyond our families of origin to sense our identity as members of the whole family of God. Faith-inspired compassion for our “sisters” and “brothers” moves us to share our faith and love with conviction.
The mission we have been given is at the very heart of our life of faith. We have not been called into God’s family to simply enjoy being called a child of God or to gather with others who have been baptized to celebrate what we have received. We have been sent. We are to “tell what God has done for us” in a way that invites those who are not yet baptized to know the God who loves them and has redeemed them in Jesus Christ. More than just a practice, the gift of invitation is the very way we live in relationship with others who have yet to hear and believe.