“For they went out for the sake of the Name, receiving nothing from the Gentiles.” – III John 7
There are a few books that our core team is planning to read and discuss together in preparation for planting in New Orleans. Last month, we completed the first of those books, For the Sake of His Name by David Doran. This book was a tremendous encouragement to our team as it reinforced truths that we have heard preached at Grace Bible Church for years. Dr. Doran also articulated much needed truth regarding the priority of the ministry of the Word in missions.
Below is an amended copy of the handout shared with our team. It includes a summary of and quotes from each chapter in the book. We used this as a starting point for discussing ministry philosophy and practice applied to New Orleans.
Chapter 1: The Supremacy of God in Missions – Missions must have a God-centered approach rather than a man-centered emphasis.
“That God receives glory when people respond to the gospel in faith proves the doxological focus of missions.” (7)
“The grand plan of God’s redemption is displaying His glory in those who have been made like His Son. To view salvation as merely a change of destination (heaven vs. hell) is to miss all the grandeur of God’s design.” (9)
Chapter 2: The Task of the Great Commission I: The Meaning of Discipleship – The goal of missions is discipleship (a transformed life) not decisions.
“Genuine commitment to God’s glory is displayed in obedience to His will.” (21)
“The Great Commission produces disciples, not decisions… One of the sad evidences of a defective and unbiblical missions strategy is being satisfied with evangelistic decisions that yield no lasting fruit or transformation in the lives of those who have supposedly received Jesus Christ.” (27)
“The new birth produces a new life, and where there is no new life, the biblical conclusion is that there has been no new birth.” (36)
Chapter 3: The Task of the Great Commission II: The Method of Discipleship – Discipleship, which is the key to the Great Commission, is accomplished by proclamation and the ministry of the word, not by social action.
“The evidence that gospel proclamation and the ministry of the Word is the fulfillment of the Great Commission is overwhelming, yet there has been a considerable shift in missions thinking and literature away from this position. This shift is out of step with the Scriptures and seriously threatens the fulfillment of Christ’s commission to His church.” (45)
“The main, if not exclusive, thrust of any missions program must be the establishment of long-term discipleship that results in an indigenous and self-perpetuating church movement… The proper focus of all missionary activity must be on the spread of the Word, for it, through the work of the Spirit, is the power that produces disciples.” (57)
“Preaching the Word must be in the forefront of all missionary endeavors. And training pastors/preachers is essential work for missionaries since the spread of the gospel in any region is dependent, from a human perspective, on their ministry. Finally, all missionaries should be evangelists in the truest sense of the term, preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ calling men and women to repentance and faith in Him.” (57-58)
Chapter 4: The Target of the Great Commission – The target of the Great Commission is self-reproducing churches.
“The local church is the God-ordained means for the baptizing and instructing of those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ. Without the formation of local assemblies, the commission cannot be fulfilled.” (63)
“Any view of missions that reduces it to merely evangelizing lost people simply fails to account adequately for the missionary practice of the early church. The work of disciple-making demanded the establishment of local assemblies that provide opportunity for worship, fellowship, edification, and the continuation of evangelistic outreach.” (66)
“The local church is the centerpiece of God’s work in this dispensation. It is no wonder, then, that Paul’s missionary efforts extended beyond winning the lost to Christ. He aimed at more than converts; he aimed at planting churches.” (69)
“A church has not been fully established until it becomes obedient to the missionary command! Therefore, we could technically say that the true missionary target is not just church planting, but also a self-perpetuating church planting movement. Like Paul, our missionary goal is to lay a foundation for the spread of the gospel and the planting of churches throughout entire regions.” (76)
“Church planting is not one of the things that missionaries do—it is the thing! Everything else must be subordinated to this goal.” (76)
Chapter 5: The Territory of the Great Commission – Missions must aim to put churches in regions and amongst people groups who do not currently have them.
“Perhaps the greatest concern is how out of step the people groups advocates are with the persistent New Testament emphasis on geography.” (96)
“I am not sure that there is anything to be gained biblically by targeting specific people groups versus identifying areas where there is no gospel witness and no church planting movement… So whether we view the objective as unreached peoples, our burning desire must be to take the gospel to those who have not heard of Christ and among whom there is no viable church planting movement.” (99)
Chapter 6: The Local Church’s Role in Missions – Supplication, sending, supervision, and support summarize the responsibility of every local church regarding missions.
“The front line of God’s work in this dispensation is the preaching of God’s Word. Other activities have their place, but they cannot have first place. God has chosen the ‘foolishness’ of preaching to save the lost. Much of contemporary ministry philosophy seems to have lost its confidence in the effectiveness of God’s Word to convert the lost and to conform the saved into the image of Jesus Christ.” (108-109)
“God works in the life of a believer to provide both godly ambitions and the abilities necessary to carry them out.” (111)
“The local church is both the target and the agent of the Great Commission. Missions springs from the local church and aims to plant local churches because the local church is the centerpiece of God’s work in this dispensation.” (112)
“The primacy of the church as the pillar and support of the truth in this dispensation means that it carries the burden of preserving and perpetuating biblical Christianity (1 Tim. 3:15).” (112)
Chapter 7: The Call to Missions – Anyone being sent as a missionary must be called by God and affirmed by His church for the task.
“Conviction to obey God’s commands forms the bedrock of God’s call because it exalts God to first place in our lives. We live for Him and demonstrate our love for Him through obedience (John 14:15).” (126)
“Anyone called to missions must base their resolve…not on fleeting emotions or on their own inconsistent ability to be compassionate.” (127)
“A person dedicated to God will embrace God’s purpose for all things—His own glory. Since God’s glory is the goal and driving force of missions, those who engage in missions must be committed to that truth above all others.” (128)
“The life that God will use for His service is a life of faith.” (128) “A life consumed with the pursuit of this world’s pleasures and treasures will be deaf to the call of God to leave them in order to take the gospel to some far corner of the world. Even some good priorities like family can become imbalanced to the point where we make them more important than God and His global purpose to call out a people for His name.” (129)
“A conscience continually defiled by sin is not going to be sensitive to the call of God into ministry and missions. We cannot continually ignore God about sin and expect to hear Him about service.” (130)
“Schools, mission boards, and non-profits do not send out missionaries; local churches do.” (137)
“When God is calling someone to ministry, He imparts a compelling desire, genuine godliness, and the appropriate gifts, and He causes His people to recognize His hand upon that person.” (138)
Chapter 8: The Sovereignty of God in Missions – Knowing God’s sovereignty over all things fuels missionary zeal.
“Gospel preaching is a necessary part of God’s program for calling in His chosen ones because God’s eternal plan encompasses both His goals and the means to accomplish them.” (168)
“God’s sovereignty over all things is the basis of missionary confidence that He can control the direction and destiny of nations, whether ruled by believers or pagans.” (172)