Reflecting Christ's Mission and methods
23rd February 2018
When Jesus left this earth over 2000 years ago, He left a message with His disciples that they are to "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 things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age", Matthew 28:19-20.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? What is the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and how can believers best reflect the mission and methods of Christ?
We did not have to go too far to find out the answers to any of these questions as they are all addressed in the Disciple Makers Training, taught by SEC Personal Ministries and Sabbath School director ‒ Pastor Michael Mbui at the SEC School of Evangelism from 9-10 February 2018. He was invited by Hackney's pastor, Joojo Bonnie, to train church members on how to be better disciples in order to fulfil the mission of the Church.
Some of the highlighting points were:-
- Current statistics show that for every 10 individuals baptized, 4 of those are leaving the Seventh-day Adventist Church (this amounts to a 40% loss in church membership). If Jesus felt it was important to leave the 99 sheep in pursuit of the 1 missing sheep then how do you think He would feel about the 40% of missing sheep (or members) from our churches today? The word of God says in Hosea 4:6: My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. If we are called to be disciples but do not know what our mission is then how are we to fulfil the Gospel Commission Christ gave to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-19?
- The result that comes from reflecting Christ's mission and methods is the growth of a healthy and thriving Church.
- To be able to reflect Christ's mission and methods successively we first need to know what our mission is. What is the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Is it to preach the good news of salvation?
- The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to make disciples while the methods employed in achieving the mission are baptism and teaching those things learned before from the word of God.
- Once there is a shared and unified vision as to the mission of the Church, there can then be no room for confusion.
Mbui challenged us into thinking on the following question – What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ?
In answering Mbui shared that "God chooses you and me not because we are good or out of anything we can give to Him but simply because He loves us (see John 3:16) and that when God calls to ministry, He also equips."
Mbui shared some other pointers including:-
- This quarter we have been learning about stewardship. Every disciple of Christ has been made a steward and is called to be faithful (see 1 Corinthians 4:1-2). A steward is a trustee, put in charge of someone's goods or possessions. The word of God says that He has entrusted His mysteries to us. How does it make you feel knowing that God has entrusted His mysteries to you? Knowing that He has entrusted His mysteries to you, what will you do about it?
- A disciple of Christ does not just know the word of God but also seeks to know the meaning of that word. In the same measure, God's stewards do not just keep His mysteries to themselves, but they also share with others what God has given to them because what is kept is lost while what is given is returned in good measure (see Luke 6:38).
Lastly, Mbui opened the discussion around what is Christ's vision for the church and how can it be reflected to others? His main points were:-
- The church is God's embassy in the community (see 1 Peter 2:9). God gave the Apostle Paul a vision to be a minister to the Gentiles and a witness to all people (see Acts 26:16). Therefore, Christ's vision is to make the church a temple of meaningful ministry and worship. What is worship? Worship is a spirit-filled encounter with God – an atmosphere where we need to hear, see and sense the presence of God and be filled with His Holy Spirit in order to have a true worship experience. The church is God's chosen people whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light (see 1st Peter 2:9). Those whom He has chosen are called to be a family because family gives you life, an identity and values and offers you a place of fellowship. By beholding we become changed (see 2nd Corinthians 3:18).
- To those who behold Christ, they partake of His character and nature thus reflecting what it means to be a true disciple of Christ to others. If someone walks into your church, can they leave and say to themselves that they had experienced Heaven? This should be the aim as we practice on earth that which is in Heaven. In short, we reflect the mission, method and vision of Christ when we speak, show and live the Gospel which in turn enables others to hear, see and experience the Gospel for themselves.
At the close of the training session, Hackney local minister Pastor Bonnie said: "We thank Dr Mbui for training our members in how to be better disciples. This was just the first step. We now have to put into practice what we have learned so that we have a healthy, thriving church known for its good work in the community."
Personal Ministries Assistant, Eileen Philip said: "This was an insightful training which benefitted the whole church and gave us all a better understanding of what our mission is and how we need to work together backed by the Holy Spirit in order to achieve this."