The following is a condensed version of an interview with David Platt first published in Mission Frontiers magazine (Nov/Dec 2019). We found his thoughts and ideas very helpful and wanted to share them with you.
David Platt is Pastor-Teacher at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, USA. He is author of the New York Times Best Seller ‘Radical’.
Over years of ministry you regularly speak and declare the centrality of unreached and unengaged peoples as the primary missions focus of local churches. What is the foundation of this challenge to the local church?
Jesus’ words. He has clearly commanded us not just to make disciples among as many people as possible, but to make disciples among all the peoples. This, after all, is the ultimate purpose of God in history: to save men and women from every nation, tribe, and tongue for His glory (Rev. 5 7-9). If we’re not focused on reaching those not yet reached, then we are either disregarding or disobeying the Great Commission.
What should the priority of cross-cultural missions look like in local churches? Can every church be engaged?
By God’s design, every local church not only can be engaged, but must be engaged in spreading the gospel to the unreached. Certainly, this will vary among different churches of different sizes but here are a few key things every single church should do:
Preach God’s Word - Continually show God’s zeal for His glory among all nations pointing to how God’s passion for His global glory should shape the purpose of our lives, our families and His Church.
Pray for the world - This, after all, is a command from Jesus (Matt. 9:35-38) — to pray for labourers to go into the harvest field. Every church should pray for unreached people groups to be reached with the gospel and for labourers to do that work.
Make disciples who make disciples of the nations - I am working to equip every member of the church I pastor to make disciples in such a way that God could pick them up and put them anywhere in the world, and they would know how to make disciples and gather as a church in a way that more disciples could be made and more churches could be multiplied. This is a high goal, but I just don’t think I as a pastor should aim for anything less.
Send labourers - Every church, no matter what size, can ask who God is sending out for the spread of the gospel to the unreached and respond accordingly. In the church I pastor, we have an Acts 13-type weekend periodically, where we fast and pray and worship, and we all lay our lives down before the Lord and ask who He is sending out from among us. Then when I preach that Sunday, I ask people who believe the Lord may be leading them to stand. I’ve never been in a gathering where someone didn’t stand.
Participate in short-term mission trips - Much could be said about the unhealthy pictures of short-term mission trips, but there are healthy ways to utilize short-term missions for long-term impact, both around the world and in our churches. Short-term missions will often lead to long-term workers.
Give resources toward the global purpose of God - Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matt. 6:21). If we want our heart to be with God’s heart for the nations, then we need to put treasure here. Every church should give financial resources for the spread of God’s glory among the nations.
I could go on and on...but hopefully this is a helpful start!
Reproduced with kind permission from missionfrontiers.org
Read the full interview here.