Trekking into the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. (Photo by Adrianne Michele)
NOTE: On Nov. 27, 2016, I was honored to be asked by Pastor Al Robinson to share about discipleship at Crowsnest Community Christian Centre in Coleman, AB, home church of C4C Canada. I told our brothers and sisters in Christ how God had moved in my life to lead me from the only job I thought I would ever want (a sports writer for a daily newspaper for 27 years) to start Climbing For Christ and serve Him full-time in ministry. I have been doing this for 10 years now. In that span, I have been blessed to lead 50 short-term mission trips (of the 87 we have conducted) and grow C4C into a ministry that serves spiritual and physical needs in places others cannot or will not go. Here was the teaching I then offered to CCCC…
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
e call it the Great GO-mission. You’ve probably heard it referred to as “The Great Commission.” The Great Commission says we are to GO!
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:19-20
We aren’t instructed to wait for the lost to find their way to us. We are told to GO and – the emphasis in the original language of this verse is – to make disciples
. That is:
- to share Jesus,
- to evangelize,
- to convert those who do not know Him into those who call Jesus their Lord and Savior,
- and to teach what it means to be obedient to Him. In other words, to willingly go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything He has commanded.
If we do this, it’s sort of like shampooing your hair. Wash, rinse, repeat. The church will expand exponentially!
Sadly, the church – you and I – too often commit the Great Omission rather than committing to the Great Commission.
One of the authors of a huge disciple-making movement recalls sitting in a training session in an Asian country. There was a poster on the wall. It said: “How many people will hear the Gospel today?”
Think how many would hear the Good News if after “church” today every believer left wherever they are worshiping and entered the mission field (that’s any place outside these four walls) and shared Jesus with just one lost soul! Dare I suggest, we would be doing what one of my pastors calls “depopulating the zip code of hell.”
We are ALL kingdom workers. Every disciple of Christ is EXPECTED to become a witness. It’s our responsibility to figure out how to introduce Jesus into our work places and schools.
We’re ALL missionaries. I just have the blessing to call “sharing Jesus” my full-time job.
I am no different than you. I am a disciple, too. The Greek translation for the word disciple is “learner” – or student of the Master. I learn something new every day – about Him, about serving Him, about those who need to hear about Him.
I want to read to you something I shared at our Annual Meetings:
THE MISSION: 2017
The original mission of Climbing For Christ was (and is) to minister to people in physical and spiritual ways in mountainous areas of the world. The New Testament teaches us “to make God’s Word our first priority in ministry (1 Corinthians 1:22-23), yet the Gospel must be clothed in love and good deeds, lest we ‘unsay’ with our actions what we say with our lips (1 John 3:18).”
We are called to “be doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Because, we know, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).
We remain steadfast in our commitment to being:
1. God glorifying
2. Christ centered
3. Spirit driven
The Book of Acts declares to the church (that’s us) “that it is by the power of the Spirit that the Gospel will go forth to the end of the earth” today as was declared in Acts 1:8. “Evangelistic effectiveness does not depend ultimately on human cleverness and sophisticated strategies. Global fruitfulness comes as weak Christians (that’s us again) depend on the Spirit and look to Him for strength.”
God promises to show us the way.
But we must be like the prophet Isaiah who, it says in Isaiah 6:8
, “heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’
“And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
We must make ourselves available. Are you available?
That doesn’t mean you are volunteering to go to the end of the earth, eat locusts, and spend hours flicking leeches off your body – something we’ve been known to do in Climbing For Christ. But it might mean you are going to walk across the office, classroom, warehouse or store to introduce someone to your Best Friend, who should be Jesus Christ.
Leeches while trekking Makalu in central Nepal. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
People are always telling me: “I couldn’t do what you do.” Why not? I am not some sort of super Christian. I don’t have a big “C” on my chest.
On the contrary. I am a sinner, saved from my nature by the One Who came and died and rose again, and blessed to be asked to represent HIM in this sin-sick world.
I have asthma. I’m old. I’m American. I’ve got a lot going against me.
But I’ve got more going FOR ME. And so do you! You have the One Who called everything into existence and sustains it. We have the Great Provider.
If we truly believe it’s possible that everything was made by God and comes from God, then we MUST believe the words found in Matthew 19:26
– “with God all things are possible
.” And the words of Jesus, spoken in Mark 9:23
, “All things are possible to him who believes.
” ALL things are possible!
God calls. We answer. The Spirit works in and through us to accomplish more than we can ever imagine. And we get to witness, up close, as this spectacle unfolds.
It’s that simple. And trust me, it’s great. People who don’t respond don’t know what they’re missing.
The difference is as stark as watching a hockey game on TV or being on the ice. And as disciples we’re supposed to be IN THE GAME … IN THE ACTION. We’re supposed to share the message of the Gospel with others.
Let me say that again: We’re supposed to share the message of the Gospel with others
. This is NOT about you. This is about all of those who have not heard; all of those who are going to hell. Forever separated from the love of God. Do we want that? Is that not worth getting out of our comfort zones and holy huddles for?
As disciples we know we need to do these things:
1. Trust the One who is sending us.
He’ll take care of you. He’ll give you the words to say. He’ll watch over you.
2. Be prepared to be rejected. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you
,” Jesus said in John 15:18
3. Make Jesus the most important person in your life.
He’s more important than your mother, father, spouse, or child. He is first; everyone else is second at best.
4. Focus on the eternal, not the temporal.
This is not our home. “But our citizenship is in heaven
,” it says in Philippians 3:20
, “and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ
While we’re waiting, we have places to GO. There is work to do. We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only.
Let’s pray for this.