Thousands of evangelicals from around the world were challenged to finish the Great Commission and make disciples as they kicked off a decennial gathering in Indonesia.
Niko Njotorahardjo, an Indonesian pastor, told those attending the World Evangelical Alliance’s General Assembly on Thursday not to forget their calling.
"Jesus gave us His Great Commission,” he said, as reported by Christian Today, based in the U.K. “My friends, don't forget God wants all of us to be disciples of Jesus. Disciples are the people whose lifestyles resemble how Jesus lived.
“We have to be serious about finishing the Great Commission of Jesus. We are not here just to gather but to pray, Oh Lord, come quickly and Your kingdom come."
WEA is a network of churches and organizations in 129 countries that seeks to help spread the Gospel. This year, under the theme “Your Kingdom Come,” assembly participants are seeking to address the question of what evangelism and disciple-making should look like over the next decade.
WEA Secretary General Bishop Efraim Tendero stressed on Thursday that Christians need to focus on "intergenerational, intentional and holistic" disciple-making.
The opening ceremony on Thursday night was attended by thousands of Christians from across Indonesia, with worship by local worship leaders and traditional dance performances.
Bishop Tendero explained about the choice to hold the General Assembly in Indonesia, saying "We have carefully chosen Indonesia to be the hosts of our General Assembly because this is the country that has the largest Muslim population around the world, with about 230 million, but there is also religious tolerance and harmony."
He continued: "So as we gather for the next six days, we have the passion and desire to cry out to God, that as evangelical leaders, we all work together to advance the Kingdom of God in our time."
The meeting comes weeks after WEA announced Jay Matenga as the new executive director to its Mission Commission. Matenga, who served in Mission Commission for over 10 years, said in a blog post this week that he believes "missions is moving from a colonial era into a communal era and that the often-used means of missions — “voluntary associations (missions) invented under colonial Protestantism" — are “being invalidated.”
“As we prepare to step out beyond 2020, we can no longer assume that grand purpose is helpful, at least not in the way it was articulated under the colonial expansion. To borrow a filmography metaphor, we are watching the ‘Great Commission’ blur as new objects come into focus. And that is OK because that season is past,” Matenga wrote.
“Am I saying Matthew 28:18-20 and similar verses no longer have their place? No, I am not. I am suggesting that they are being put back in their rightful place—as the backdrop to God’s mission, not as the object of God’s mission. … So the so-called Great Commission is merely the release, it’s not the mission. So, what is the mission? We would all probably (and correctly) say, to make more Jesus-disciples.”
Matenga contended that the biblical passage in Matthew on the “Great Commission” served as the “key missions verse of the previous era;” but for this new era, he believes the key missions verse should be John 17:18-25, which he coined “The Great Commitment.”
The main theme of The Great Commitment, he explained, is demonstrating loving unity, loving God and maturing as disciples.
The WEA General Assembly concludes Tuesday.