Journal of Applied Missiology, Volume 2, Number 1


April, 1991

Ed Mathews

Almost two thousand years ago Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations." In two thousand years we have gone, we have made many disciples, but we have not gone and made disciples in ALL NATIONS!


Perhaps the most obvious reason is the concentration of personnel and resources in already reached areas. With disastrous consequences, the emphasis of mission has shifted over the past century. Most missionaries are sent to maintain established works rather than pioneer new ones.

The imperative is not merely to go but to go and make disciples. The goal is to reach people in all nations. Bold steps must be taken now.

First, each body of believers--here and abroad--must take on the responsibility of reaching its own people. Whether it be a town, a tribe, or a territory, every community of Christians must say, "Here is where God has called us to gather His harvest."

Second, churches begun by missionaries must become sending churches. This is the will of God. Each fellowship of saints must accept the responsibility to evangelize people beyond its cultural boundaries.

Third, the younger church must measure its ministry not in terms of how many people it seats but how many people it sends. When it says the church building seats 300, little is said that is significant. When it says that the congregation supports three missionaries, it communicates something about its values.

Fourth, churches must pursue flexible methods of evangelism that are suited to the cultures in which they work.

Let us stop complaining that we do not have enough people, enough money, enough equipment. That is not the main concern. True, there are shortages of certain essential items, i.e., faith, prayer, and determination. When we have these in abundance, the rest of what is needed will be available.

God can free us from a gloomy defeatism. He can liberate us from slavish attachment to ineffective traditional methods. He can free us to go gladly, to proclaim powerfully, and, if need be, to die triumphantly.


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