Go…and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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. (Matthew 28:19-20)
And when we turn a few books to the right, we see in the book of Acts that the disciples took this command seriously. After the Holy Spirit came down in a new, never-been-seen-before-or-since way, the disciples were equipped, emboldened and sent out to tell the world about Jesus.
Those famous words of Jesus recorded by St. Matthew didn’t just finish when the twelve apostles did their bit and then died (they all gave their lives for the cause). If you look carefully you’ll realise the phrase is cyclical – ‘teach the new converts to obey all I have commanded you, which is to go and make more disciples!’
Therefore as a church, we are committed to obeying these words of Jesus – to go and make disciples by baptising them and teaching them all about him. We will do this in three distinct ways.
1. We move out through evangelism
Evangelism is simply ‘gospeling’ – sharing the good news of Jesus with everyone and anyone. This will happen in a huge variety of ways, whether over a coffee with a friend, teaching our kids at home, offering specialised courses looking at the Christian faith, hosting church-based events where we invite friends and family, and even right through to our Sunday services where we preach, sing about and apply the gospel of Jesus every week.
We want to put the announcement of the gospel of Jesus at the heart of everything we do and so we are committed to thinking creatively and innovatively about how we can effectively share the gospel in the 21st century.
2. We move out through planting churches
The apostle Paul established churches wherever his missionary journeys took him – right across the eastern Roman Empire, and possibly beyond. Churches were the place where the believers (who were small in number) met to pray, to share with one another, and to hear the Bible explained through gifted teachers, before going out to share their new faith with people in their own communities.
As a church, we are committed to establishing new churches and strengthening weakened churches so that the gospel of Jesus may be proclaimed more effectively. This may happen through supporting other groups of Christians who are planting churches or equipping people from our own church to go out and plant new churches.
3. We move out through ministries of mercy
We see in the Bible that Jesus was concerned about the whole person, and so we often read of him being with and ministering to the desperate and the outcast of his society, the ones that the religious people often looked down upon.
As a church, we believe firmly that all people need to hear and grasp the gospel of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and all that flows from that amazing event. However it is clear across the Bible that real faith in Jesus always results in good works. Reaching out to the desperate and needy of our world is one way that we respond to the gospel.
This will happen through any number of avenues. For example, in January 2014, Gilnahirk Baptist is launching its official partnership with Christians Against Poverty, providing free financial help and support network for anyone who is struggling with debt. Check out https://capuk.org/ for more details!