Go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations; these are probably some of the most familiar words to the Christian’s ears. We know these words under the banner of the great commission found in Matthew twenty-eight. We know these words, we hear these words preached, but what about Acts 1:8?
Acts 1:8 NASB “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
I’ve been thinking about the church lately and how we can reach the world in many incredible ways. I’m not even talking about the big churches and ministries either; we all can have a broad reach through social media. Relatively unknown churches can have huge online viewing numbers. Yet, as great as all this is, have we been so focused on all the world that many of us have forgotten our neighborhoods? Have churches become so missions-minded that we have forgotten our own cities and states?
Let’s do everything we can to reach the entire world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us should support missions and ministries. That being said, each of us lives in a neighborhood, attends church in a particular city, and has several personal interactions daily at Starbucks, the grocery store, on your Target run, or any other number of places. This is where we can be personally effective. When we build relationships, it enables us to lead people to Jesus and, most importantly, disciple them.
The church has been good at making converts and church attendees, but we haven’t majored in discipleship. We need to get to know people, invite them to church and cultivate a friendship with them. We need to grow together spiritually as local bodies of Christ. I am so thankful for the emphasis on going into all the world. We need to keep doing that. Along with that, though, maybe it’s time for a renewed focus on reaching the neighborhood we live in and the cities our churches are based in.