By Ryan Shaw

It is important to distinguish what the Holy Spirit’s aims and goals are in the Great Commission. Church and mission history reveals agreement that the Great Commission is primarily not about humanitarian, political and secular work among society.

It is a spiritual work focusing on the eternal values of declaring the Gospel, making Jesus known, experienced, loved and obeyed among all humanity, and seeing transformation of those among whom the Kingdom of God is being manifest.

The body of Christ is meant to reveal to the world the superiority and supremacy of our great King, who is the rightful ruler over all due to His resurrection. Believers do this by loving Jesus with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength, living victoriously over the power of sin, being regularly filled with the Holy Spirit and responding to His commission by being Message Bearers of this great King, the envoys and ambassadors of their Lord, going beyond the current places where the Gospel and the Kingdom of God are being realized.

This work, while being spiritual in nature, is pursued within all realms of society (arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media, and religion). We have tended to do fairly well in the religion realm in our work among the unreached. However, to disciple an entire ethnic group requires engaging the Gospel in all seven realms of society among the particular ethnic group.

This aim and goal is more than individual conversion and discipleship. It implies the gathering of disciples together to grow in love, encouragement and ongoing spiritual maturity in culturally relevant small churches or campus ministries.

These communities are self-sustaining as they take care of one another free from the hindrances of financial burdens of buildings, paid pastors and leaders, etc. They are organic and reproducible across ethnic lines and reflect culturally understood and appropriate forms.

Wholehearted love for and obedience to Jesus provokes us to see those out of access to the Gospel given opportunities to it. With Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:16, we are compelled to “preach the
gospel in the regions beyond.”

The largeness of the task does not intimidate us. Instead, we see the apparent impossibility of the fulfillment of the Great Commission as the glory of it.

God, the Holy Spirit, is the true director and orchestrator of the Great Commission. It is He who works in us and through us to exalt Jesus Christ among all ethnic people groups.

It is crucial to keep the Gospel, spiritual transformation of people, and the gathering of disciples into living, organic communities (churches or campus fellowships) as our priority in the Great Commission.

The body of Christ gets into trouble when prioritizing other elements in its work. However, this does not mean there are not multitudes of activities we may engage that support the priority of the Gospel. The needs among humanity are manifold, and seeking to meet these needs are ways the body of Christ stands for justice and serves Jesus’ commission.

Such activities may include helping minimize poverty, teaching children through a biblical worldview, setting up clinics and hospitals serving the poor, overcoming sex and other forms of human trafficking, caring for orphans and children at risk, being a mouthpiece against abortion, and seeking to alleviate other societal injustices.

These flow like a stream into the river of the priorities of the Gospel and of gathering new disciples into small, reproducible culturally relevant communities of faith.

Reflection Questions:

1) What are specific ways that you can align your life with the priorities of Jesus’ Great Commission?

2) Consider examples of how those priorities can easily get muddied and out of focus in today’s generation.


Bearing the Culturally Relevant Message

Global Harvest

By Ryan Shaw Message bearers are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom among unreached and unengaged ethnic peoples globally. This may be in our home city, nation or a near or distant country. We rely on the Holy Spirit to lead. We then focus on a particular sub-culture of that people. Ethnic peoples […]

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Abandoned Devotion -The Key Characteristic of Message Bearers

Abandoned Devotion

By Ryan Shaw Message bearers are not developed in a vacuum. They do not all of a sudden appear. They are prepared by His hand over time, primarily through the channel of local ministries (local churches and campus ministry fellowships). The Holy Spirit is seeking to align every local church and campus ministry fellowship with […]

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Core Characteristics of Message Bearers

Global Harvest

By Ryan Shaw “Message bearer” is an alternative term for “sent one” or “missionary.” The traditional term missionary carries a number of unhelpful negative stereotypes, particularly for believers in parts of the non-western world. A message bearer is compelled by the Spirit to bear Jesus’ message across cultures, sub-cultures and societal groupings having little or […]

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Message Bearers – Preparing The Way of the Lord

Global Harvest

By Ryan Shaw The call of God is going throughout the whole earth for message bearers of the highest spiritual quality to arise and shine among all ethnic peoples. 2 Chronicles 16:9 describes it this way, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on […]

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God Is Raising Message Bearers

Global Harvest

By Ryan Shaw In October 1998 I had a profound experience with the Lord. He spoke of the multitude of message bearers He planned to raise up from all nations and the vital impact they would have among ethnic peoples. That year had seen unprecedented global flooding particularly in areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Reports of […]

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Paradigm Shifts In the Mission Movement – Part 2

Global Harvest

By Ryan Shaw In an article a few months ago we began to consider paradigm shifts the Holy Spirit is bringing about in the global missions movement. I mentioned how several years ago while driving near our home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart. The phrase that reverberated in my […]

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