Saturday night, our church held our annual Men’s Wild Game Dinner. This particular dinner was one I had been looking forward to for quite some time. A good friend of mine, and South American missionary, had put me in contact with Dr. David Sills to be our speaker for the dinner. At Old Fort Baptist Church, we like to place a high emphasis on mission, and Dr. Sills seemed like an ideal candidate to deliver a message to our men.
Dr. Sills is the President and Founder of Reaching and Teaching International Ministries, a trustee with the International Mission Board, and the A.P. and Faye Stone Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology, and Director of Global Strategic Initiatives at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Yet despite all of his accomplishments and consistent travel around the world to share in helping to fulfill the Great Commission, when I asked about how he would like to be introduced to our men, he simply replied to introduce him as, “a sinner saved by grace.” Through this, Dr. Sills showed himself to be truly a faithful leader and teacher leading by example.
Teaching Them to Observe All That I Have Commanded You
As Dr. Sills began his message, he began by walking through the Great Commission found in Matthew 28, “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Sills challenged that the Great Commission is not merely calling Christians to show up somewhere, tell people about Jesus and then leave. Sills reminded us that the Great Commission also challenges Christians to aid in “teaching them to observe all that [Jesus has] commanded.”
Saturday night, we learned of several sobering statistics – 90% of Christians will never share Jesus with anyone in their lifetime; 50,000 people each day die without ever hearing of Jesus; only about two-thirds of the world has been reached with the Good News, yet Coca-Cola has managed to reach 95% of the world with the motivation of self-glorification and the bottom line; and yet if Christians would accept the challenge of the Great Commission and teach just one other person about the gospel, then the Great Commission could be finished within just four years. Beloved, did you notice that in just a little over one hundred years, a soda company has done a better job at reaching the nations than the work of the church over the last 2000 years? That is one statistic that makes it hard to reconcile and justify many actions and decisions that have been made in lieu of commitment to the Great Commission.
Entrust to Faithful Men Who Will Be Able to Teach Others Also
One challenge in particular that has hindered the advancement of the Gospel message has been the lack of ability for a Christian to effectively train another Christian. There’s a strategy that our military has used effectively that allows the first year of an assignment to be time spent learning the role and responsibility of the task, and the final year is spent training the replacement. This ensures consistency and secures reliability with the task having little disruption when there is a change of faculty.
In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul exhorts Timothy, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” With this encouragement from Paul to Timothy, we should be reminded that it is not enough to merely tell someone about Jesus for the sake of them receiving knowledge of God’s Word. The point of this command from Paul creates the urgency to teach faithful Christians to learn how to teach Christianity to others.
On the mission field, we should not be focused on just dropping into a location to say hello and then never return. Missions should be designed to introduce Christianity and then train local leaders to be equipped to train more leaders.
And remember, the Great Commission was one given to all believers, not just the ones desiring to move away to another country. We have all been called to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission, therefore making each and everyone of us missionaries. Have you identified someone that you intend to entrust what you have been taught in the presence of many witnesses to be able to faithfully teach others?
As I am writing this article, Dr. Sills continues to be faithful in teaching and leading those that are being called to teach and lead others, by posting on social media,
Beware of those whose idea of a challenge to missions or Christian ministry consists solely of ‘set your hair on fire, put a knife between your teeth, parachute in, and fight your way out’ or ‘get out there and die for Jesus as fast as you can!’ As Oswald Chambers said, ‘It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul.’ I hope that all of us are ready to suffer and die for Jesus’ sake. But most of us will get the harder call – to suffer and live for Him. Be faithful to what He has called you to.
May we all accept the challenge to suffer and live for Him, being faithful to what He has called us.
If you are interested in learning more about participating in ministry with Dr. David Sills, I highly recommend checking out his ministry, Reaching and Teaching International Ministries at www.reachingandteaching.org, where you have the opportunity to participate in international missions, and helping to fulfill the Great Commission!