I vividly remember a certain occasion in May 1968. My small country church was celebrating its annual Senior Night service.
Three of us were graduating: Tim, the son of a machineshop owner; Jerry, the son of a farmer; and me, the son of the pastor. We were all actively serving through our youth program, doing outreach like visitation, and singing in the choir—except Tim, who was well known for not being able to carry a tune in a bucket. The Senior Night service was a highlight for our church. Recognition was given to the graduates and their families; Bible study volumes were presented. Each graduate shared a testimony, usually including general thanks for our church family’s influence, as well as tribute to special folks like family members and youth leaders.
The climax of each testimony was the “official” announcement about our plans for after graduation. Though eagerly anticipated, the announcement was quite predictable—the graduates of our church always went to Bible college for at least a year. That was the expected plan regardless of our vocational interests. We had been guided to see that our lives as believers were not our own. Our first obligation was to prepare to serve the Lord, either as laypeople in the church or in full-time ministry.
Remaining true to the pattern, Tim would be enrolling in Faith Baptist Bible College; Jerry and I would be attending Appalachian Bible College. That scene, so normal then, has become tragically abnormal. Too often the climate of expectation that each believer will intentionally plan to study the Bible systematically is missing in our churches. As we deploy a new generation of slaves for Christ to serve His church, I would like to issue a call for Great Commission passion.
How do we develop Great Commission Passion?
1. We recognize that the essence of church ministry is an emphasis on its Biblical mission. Christ gave explicit instructions: make disciples capable of teaching all that He had commanded. That Great Commission demands intentional educating and equipping of saints for the ministry. If we are effectively accomplishing this mission, we will be rightfully indoctrinating our young people to take purposeful steps to study the Bible and learn how to serve in ministry.