Fulfilling the Great Commission from the inside out!
This first appeared in CMI-US Update, February 2022.
When we hear Christians discuss the topic of fulfilling the Great Commission, our minds usually run to images of foreign mission fields or stories of passionate missionaries like John Eliot or Lottie Moon. These names serve as powerful reminders of what Jesus Christ has called us to in Matthew 28:16-20. Mission trips that bring the Gospel to faraway lands are vital. Yet, as I have served in our Events Department for over a decade, my perception of fulfilling The Great Commission has changed. Let me explain.
You can Google how many churches are active in the US and find all sorts of data from different organizations. It’s enough information to make you dizzy. Yet, I think we can safely say that there are well over 300,000 active churches in the US. With this being the case, you would think our phones would be ringing off the hook with church leaders eager to book a CMI speaking event. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
Small beginnings often produce great things
When I started serving with CMI back in 2008, I was the only person working in the Events Department. We employed two creation apologists, and we served roughly forty churches in my first year. As I traveled with the speakers to most of these events, I remember how powerful it was when I saw ‘the lights go on’ for so many people during a CMI speaking event. I experienced this same thing in my own Christian walk prior to working for CMI when Gary Bates traveled all the way from Australia to the US on a speaking tour. I was attending a small church in Eastern NC. We rented the local elementary school gymnasium and we printed brochures, put adverts in the paper and so on. We personally invited every church within a 40-mile radius to join us. I had huge expectations and knew that we would fill every seat with people eager to hear about the importance of Genesis and evangelism, and also Gary’s specialty topic—UFOs and aliens. When Gary started to speak, I counted a total of seventy-two people. From an earthly perspective, I viewed this as a failure. But looking back now, that one meeting was the seed of evangelism that started a ripple effect of significant impact. I know the area well, and many people who attended became switched on to the importance of a biblical view of creation in their churches, youth groups, homeschool classes, and even at the local military bases. They got more involved, got hold of more materials and started to teach it in their own groups. This one small meeting has helped many of those who were in attendance fulfill the Great Commission by providing answers to hard questions concerning origins and giving them the information and confidence they needed to spread the Creation Gospel. I want to share what one pastor said after attending a CMI event:
“After having the team from CMI minister to our congregation, I came to see how and why biblical origins is such a key issue if we are to not only retain our people, but to help equip them to reach others. I’ve come to know their team, and their heart to help Pastors. The information is sound and they are very professional. I recommend them to you.”—Pastor David C.
Why do we primarily go to the church?
This one meeting taught me the importance of taking the life-changing message of creation to the church. You see, every Sunday, our own churches are filled with hundreds and hundreds of people. I couldn’t even get one hundred to attend my public meeting. Firsthand experience shows that CMI’s foundational Gospel message to the church creates a renewed passion for the things of God and His Word. In short, CMI goes to where the Christians are, because most people don’t know what they don’t know. Common thoughts are:
“We can’t really know what happened”, or “There might be many ways to interpret Genesis”, but the big one is “What does it really matter what one believes about Genesis?”
While there are answers to all of these, most people, and particularly parents, are unaware of the cancerous and corrosive effects that adding evolution to the Bible can have to the faith of their families. This is the single most serious aspect of a secular view of origins to the Bible. So, a CMI presentation in a church on a Sunday morning on a relatively ‘unsuspecting’ audience, aims to create this awareness, and to reignite and equip these believers. Pastors love nothing more than seeing their church members become more passionate and effective at personal evangelism, ultimately being salt and light to the world as Jesus commanded.
CMI’s grass roots approach
There is no ‘magic bullet’ that can reach millions and impact the church in one fell swoop. Instead, I think of how Gary and other long time CMI speakers, including our Ph.D. scientists, have now been doing this for years on end, weekend after weekend and church after church. Their messages are sharp and professional, and they know how to ‘hit the mark’ to light the fires, of course, with God’s enabling and much prayer and planning for every single event.
CMI-US now employees seven speakers and we consistently serve over three hundred churches each year! Our events team is a well-oiled machine that is heading to a new town or city, almost every weekend. Think back to the small meeting that I mentioned earlier and the effect it had on my community. Over the years, we have trained up Great Commission disciples in small towns and big cities all over the US! Christians come to church because that is what they do as a Christian. But after encountering a CMI presentation, they walk away as equipped creationists ready to fearlessly share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and refute the false teachings of evolution. And most importantly, the Great Commission starts at home with their families. If we raise Godly children who can change the world for Christ, they will in turn raise Godly children themselves. This is the generational fulfillment that Jesus charged the church with in the last ‘Great Commission’ paragraph of Matthew’s Gospel. Jason U. said:
“I was raised in a Bible believing church, but I don’t remember origins being directly addressed. After going to church for 30 years, I heard about CMI and so … and I am much more firm in my faith than I have been. I now feel like Peter when Jesus asked the disciples if they would leave, too. Peter answered, ‘Where else shall we go? You hold the words of eternal life.’ How can anyone not believe in biblical creation? Nothing else really answers all of the questions, never mind answering them well.”
The change in your community can start with you!
When I volunteered to host Gary all those years ago, I never would have imagined that I would now experience the blessing of being the COO of Creation Ministries International. Gary also reminded me that he started as a volunteer as well. To this day, the fruit is still evident from that meeting I helped organized many years ago. Fulfilling the Great Commission in your community is just a phone call away. If you are a pastor, we would love to serve your congregation and equip them to be missionaries to your community. If you are a church member, please talk to your pastor and open a line of dialogue with him and CMI.