-God’s plan for reaching the world involves raising up and sending out “ordinary people” in the power of the Holy Spirit, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear said at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Sept. 13.
“The measure of success for any church ought not be its seating capacity” but “its sending capacity,” Greear said during a chapel sermon drawn from Acts 7.
Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and church leaders emphasize the sending out of “ordinary people” as an essential aspect of the call to follow Jesus. As a result, the church has sent out 1,016 people to 248 Summit-sponsored church plants and to other ministries.
Greear said Summit reaches a high percentage of college students, Millennials and young professionals, leveraging their enthusiasm, skill and mobility for the Gospel. Summit challenges students to consider serving for two years in one of its church plants after graduation.
“We tell them unashamedly, ‘Give us two years and we will transform the world with you,'” Greear said.
Greear challenged believers to adjust their understanding of the call to ministry. Rather than “something a few sacred people experience in some kind of mystical moment,” the call to ministry is embedded in the call to follow Christ.
“Jesus said, ‘Follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men,’ which means when you accepted the call to follow Jesus — your salvation — it means you also accepted the call to missions,” Greear said. “The question is no longer if you are called, the question now is simply where and how are you called.”
Sending out so many leaders has not been easy, Greear said. Those who leave often are among Summit’s most committed members. However, the practice has been strategic for the Kingdom of God, he said, citing a recent study that for each person sent out to a Summit church plant in North America, worship attendance there grows by 20 people.
Turning to Acts 7:54-8:4, Greear illustrated God’s use of ordinary people in the story of Stephen’s martyrdom. This tragic injustice, followed by a wave of persecution, jolted the church and led to the spread of the Gospel.
Believers should draw four convictions from the passage, Greear said: God wants to use me; the Holy Spirit fills me; I must be like Jesus to others; and Jesus is worth it.
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Source: Baptist Press