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We’ve passed the great commission torch

1 Chronicles 12:32: “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” What do we know about our times? Just 30 years ago, the American Church was carrying the Great Commi…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

1 Chronicles 12:32:

“Men of Issachar, who understood the
times and knew what Israel
should do.”

What do we know about our times?

Just 30 years ago, the American Church
was carrying the Great Commission torch into all the world.

The Church in Europe
had carried the torch for a long time, but was on a long, steady decline. American missionaries had traveled around the
globe with the gospel.

Fast forward to today, and times have changed; the Church in
is stagnant. In countries like Costa Rica, China, Indonesia,
and many parts of Africa and the Far East, the
Church grows by more than 8% a year.

In the U.S.
it is a violation of the separation between church and state to present the
gospel in schools, whereas in countries like Swaziland
or Peru,
missionaries are invited to make presentations and see hundreds of

At a time in history where the greatest concentration of
Christians ever to populate the earth live in America and many of them possess
unbelievable wealth and spend it on crystal cathedrals and family life centers,
I know a church in Iquitos, Peru that devotes over half of their meager budget
to evangelizing the tribes in the nearby Amazon jungle.

This is the same church where, when I preached to its
congregation, challenging them concerning the ripeness of the harvest, nearly
the entire congregation – about 300 people at the time – went forward to commit themselves
to go out into the streets, canceling church and going out that very night to
preach in a park. Attendance is now well over a thousand.

Are we like the men of Issachar? Do we know what to do? Are we taking advantage of the new
technologies, our increased wealth, and access to travel to win the world for
Christ? Or are we watching on the
sidelines as other churches with far fewer resources surpass our efforts?

Comments (3)

  • We live in comfort
    They live in need
    We have lost our need for God
    And replaced it with what?
    We are very complacent and Yes we are standing by with our pockets full of money enjoying life and ignoring our call.

  • In my church our Pastor is very strong on preaching the mandate of mission work. However, with the exception of a few people, there is not any desire to go or to give. The problem is not a lack of knowledge of what is the right thing to do but hearts that are self indulged. If our people were walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh the fruit of the Spirit would be displayed and the people would put the Pastor’s messsage into action.

  • I’m learning that even if you have all your theology right and a great pastor, you still need to do something. That’s not to degrade theology, but we learn stuff thru application. until our preachers will grab our hands and lead us to the streets themselves, our praxis in ministry will suffer. we have to see someone doing the stuff to really “get it.” talking isn’t enough. it wasn’t enough for jesus, and it’s not enough for us. It’s funny that churches invest so much into programs, functions, and classes, thinking that if they get the right methodology or lesson plan right, do the right kind of follow-up, people will start doing what the preacher says. but i don’t think it works like that. i don’t think that’s the biblical model. the model in the bible is discipleship – having a mentor to show you what some theological concept looks like practically.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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