Introduction: You’ve Taken A Giant Step - Pray & Go

Introduction: You’ve Taken a Giant Step

Thank you for opening to the first pages of this book. I mean it with all my heart. Thank you.

At the very least, you’re curious about what it means to become a Great Commission Christian.

Here’s my promise to you: If you will read every chapter, representing thirty days of a Great Commission focus, I have no doubt you will become an instrument of outreach and ministry for God in new and powerful ways.

God does not intend for us to keep the Good News to ourselves. We are meant to share our faith, to tell others about what God has done in our lives through Jesus Christ.

God also designed us for community—that is, to be connected to other believers through the local church. From Acts 2 to Revelation 3, the New Testament is all about the local church. It is the story of local churches making a difference in the world. It is the story of messy and messed-up churches still being used by God. It is the story of sinners like you and me being saved by grace. It is the story of God giving us a second chance again and again.

You see, God designed us to be bearers of the truth about his son, Jesus. And he intends for us to carry out the Great Commission mostly in the context of a local church.

If you are a church member, you are a bearer of the Good News. Well, you should be a bearer of the Good News.

At Church Answers, our team continues to look at information coming from the front lines of ministry called the local church. We have provided a tool called Know Your Church that helps churches and church members self-evaluate. We look at six areas of church life: evangelism, discipleship, prayer, ministry, fellowship, and worship. Do you know which one consistently scores the lowest? If you guessed evangelism, you are correct.

SATAN AND EVANGELISM

The gospel of Jesus Christ is about truth. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “[Love] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out” (1 Corinthians 13:6). The truth of the gospel is meant to be shared. The way of salvation through Christ is meant to be on the lips of believers.

But Satan will do everything within his great, but limited, power to keep the truth of the gospel from spreading. Speaking of the devil, Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Simply stated, the father of lies does not want us sharing the truth. Sadly, at least in the North American context, we often see Satan winning these battles in our churches. He has given us a bevy of lies to keep us silent.

“I don’t have time.”

“I don’t want to offend people.”

“I might get rejected.”

“Evangelism is not my spiritual gift.”

“That’s what we pay the pastor to do.”

“I don’t need to talk about Jesus; I’ll just show my love to others.”

THE NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN AND EVANGELISM

Peter and John were in jail. Their crime? Telling people about Jesus. The authorities gave the two apostles a way out. If they promised to stop talking about their Savior, they would be set free. The conditions were clear: “They called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).

It could have been a life-and-death situation. If the apostles promised to stop talking about Jesus to unbelievers, they would be set free. If not, they would be punished. They might get long prison sentences. They might get flogged with a whip. Or they might face execution.

Faced with these dire possibilities, Peter and John did not hesitate to respond: “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

Ironic, isn’t it? Faced with possible death, Peter and John continued to tell others about Jesus. Today, many church members remain silent lest they offend someone or inconvenience themselves.

A PLAN TO JUMP-START YOUR OUTWARD FOCUS

When I was a young seminary student, I had little time and little money. The last thing I needed was an ornery car that wouldn’t start. But my car was totally stubborn. Sometimes it wouldn’t start in the mornings. Sometimes it went dead during the day. On a few occasions, it died while I was in traffic.

I finally joined AAA so I wouldn’t have to pay for the jump-starting service every time the car quit on me—which was typically two or three times a month. I didn’t have the funds to get it repaired or even to buy a new battery.

For a few years, I saw the power of jump-starting. The AAA service person would connect the cables to his truck and then to my car. My automobile came to life every time.

I’ve needed spiritual jump-starting on many occasions. I certainly needed jump-starting to restore a Great Commission focus. This book is designed to provide you with a Great Commission jump-start. It focuses on three main areas: prayer, Scripture, and going out.

A PLAN FOR YOUR CHURCH

At Church Answers, we have designed a program we call Pray & Go to help church members develop an outward focus, get out into their communities, pray for their neighbors and their cities, and invite people to church.a This book incorporates many of the same principles into a thirty-day action plan that any church member or group can implement.

Ideally, several members of your church will embark on this adventure with you. You will pray together. You will encourage one another. You will hold each other accountable.

Yes, you can move through the thirty days of this book on your own. But the better scenario is for several members to move forward together. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Paul refers to the local church as the body of Christ. We are all different members of the body (which is why we are called church members). Each member of the body—the metaphorical hand, foot, ear, eye—must function well and properly for the entire body to function as intended.

Would you make a commitment right now to go through each of the thirty days in this book? The process isn’t designed to be cumbersome or time-consuming, but it is designed to be completed.

Once you have completed the thirty days, you will have taken fifteen days to pray about becoming outwardly focused. You will have studied five key Bible passages about reaching beyond yourself to others. You will have prayed in front of sixty homes in your community. You will have sent a note or email to five people who are not part of your church. And you will have specifically invited eight people to visit your church.

That’s all in a very achievable thirty days—thirty days that can change your life and the life of your community.

That’s if you do it alone.

But if ten people from your church will commit to these thirty days of Great Commission focus, together you will invest 150 days of prayer toward developing an outward focus for your church. Together, you will study what the Bible says about the Great Commission for a total of fifty days. You will write to forty people and invite eighty people to church. And you will have gone out into your community and prayed for six hundred families and their homes.

Ten’s not that many, so what about twenty-five?

Here are the totals from a simple thirty-day commitment to becoming Great Commission Christians:

  • 375 days of prayer to recalibrate your church to an outward focus.
  • 125 days of studying what the Scriptures say about the Great Commission.
  • 125 notes or emails to people and 200 invitations to church.
  • And you will have gone into your community and prayed for 1,500 families and their homes!

In God’s power, you can change the world. You can turn it upside down. And if a few other members of your church join you, you will have a Great Commission movement in your community.

Are you ready to make a commitment that will change your life in exciting and powerful ways? Are you ready—in God’s power—to change the world?

If you are willing, please sign the commitment below. It’s a way to make you accountable to God and to yourself.

Now get ready for a great adventure!

a For more information about the Pray & Go video program, see PrayAndGoChurch.com.

From the Book:

Pray & Go cover image


Pray & Go
By Thom S. Rainer
Tyndale
$10.99

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