Going global means serving God in kingdom and community. We are all familiar with the Great Commission that Jesus gave to His disciples and to us to go and proclaim the kingdom of God (Matthew 28:18–20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:45–47). We are also very familiar with Jesus’ invitation to us to come and find rest in His presence (Matthew 11:28–30).
Most Christians enjoy the presence of Jesus in community with other believers. In the community of faith, we find salvation, healing, deliverance and sanctification. In the community of faith, we are baptized, take communion, get married and bury our loved ones. The community of faith is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given to His people, but it is only half of the equation. The other half is the kingdom of God.
Going global means serving God in kingdom and community. We live and move and have our being in both dimensions. We live in the community of faith, and we proclaim the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is always advancing and growing faster than we think. God wants us to be participants in His kingdom. God wants us to see the world from His perspective and use our hearts, heads and hands to reach more people with the good news of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God is local, regional and international. It crosses cultures, breaks down strongholds, and establishes light and life. The kingdom of God prepares people for the community of faith, and the community of faith is on a mission to usher in the kingdom of God.
Why is going global important? It fulfills the Great Commission and helps the community of faith see beyond its walls. It allows for partnerships in reaching people for Jesus Christ. It opens people to the heart of God. It challenges the followers of Jesus to change. It promotes the grace of God in unexpected places. It mobilizes the church for missions. It connects the people of God locally, regionally and internationally. It provides a place to participate in changing history. It is the way church was meant to be: kingdom and community, revelation and relationship, church and world.
Remember when Jesus addressed His disciples in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We understand the need to share the good news in Jerusalem (the place where we live), in Judea and Samaria (the places we like and places we do not like), and to the ends of the earth (the places we have never been).
It is interesting to note though that the disciples did not fully fulfill this mission in the first seven chapters of Acts. They preached in Jerusalem and they saw thousands of people saved and set free. “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46–47).
The problem was they fell in love with the community of faith. There were ups and downs, but people were finding salvation, and they did not leave Jerusalem until Acts 8 when there was a great persecution. Even then the apostles stayed in Jerusalem and only started traveling after they heard the stories of God breaking out in Samaria, Ethiopia, Caesarea, Damascus and Galilee. Then Peter went global, traveling to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea (Acts 9:32–10:48).
Going global means serving God in kingdom and community. Do not miss the open doors that are before us. Do not miss the opportunity for sharing grace all around us. Do not wait for God stories to come to you. Go out and help create God stories to inspire others. Now is the time to go global. We need to start where we are and let God expand our faith and our witness. We start where we are and let the Holy Spirit work in us and through us on behalf of other people in other places. We start where we are and let Jesus Christ, the Lord of the harvest, send us to the fields that are ready and ripe. Going global is that simple.
JEFF JOHNSON is the Go Global strategy team facilitator for General Conference 2015, the Mid-America Conference superintendent, the Men’s Ministries International executive director and a St. Gregory’s University associate professor.0