Have you ever received an invitation to an event showing a puzzle with a missing piece and the words, “The only thing missing is YOU!”? The “you” is both plural and singular. It is plural in that everyone who receives the invitation is included, but it is also singular in that the invitation is personal to you.
When I read several versions of the Great Commission in the New Testament, it is easy to see that this same truth applies. Christ gives a command to the church as a whole, but the command is also very personal. The church is to take the Gospel to every person, while the command is very singular in that it calls out every follower of Christ to be a fisher of men.
When I look at the landscape of the church and individual discipleship, it becomes very obvious that in the work of the Great Commission in 2017, “The only thing missing is YOU!” The church, as a whole, is too often distracted by other things. While we often say that our mission is to reach the lost with the Gospel and that our ministries are aimed at that goal, we fall very short. Sunday School was designed to evangelize, and yet many of our small groups have become nothing more than fellowship groups for those who are already established within a particular group. We enjoy our group, but give little attention to filling the empty chair with someone who is detached and lost.
Frankly, I believe the individual focus of the Great Commission is even more significant. The only thing missing in the Great Commission work of the Kingdom is “YOU!” Somewhere along the way, Christians have relegated the work of the Gospel to preachers, staff, and missionaries. It is a colossal failure to embrace the truth of Scripture and ignore the singular most important command our Lord gave us. YOU (and me), singular, are called to be the voice and feet of the Gospel.
I think we have made this harder than it really is. Some Christians are scared to talk to someone about the Gospel. We don’t invite people to join us in Sunday School because we don’t think they will attend. Yet, from the moment our Lord commanded us to go make disciples of all nations, the core methodology of spreading the Gospel has remained the same—individuals inviting the “missing you” to hear the Word and your witness.
So how can we move YOU from missing to being engaged in the advancement of the Gospel in the lives of the “missing you” who are lost and disconnected? The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is proposing a very simple plan called “3 by 3.” These three simple steps have the potential of advancing the Gospel significantly in 2017.
First, study your friends, family, acquaintances and those you meet in your community. Choose three of them who are unengaged, unchurched and, as far as you can tell, unsaved. Commit to pray for these three people regularly over the next year. Pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare them for the seeds of the Gospel, bring conviction in their hearts and open doors for your witness in their lives.
Second, invite your “missing you” to an evangelistic event at your church. For example, in just a few weeks your church will celebrate Easter. On Easter Sunday, the Gospel will be declared from pulpits across our state. Your pastor will share the life transforming story of the cross and resurrection of our Lord. You could also invite your “missing you” to join you at the Falls Creek Men’s or Women’s Retreat where the Gospel will be shared clearly. There are many different kinds of events where the Gospel will be shared. Invite your “missing you” to join you.
Third, share the Gospel on a personal level. I know this is where many say, “I can’t do that!” Wrong! If you are a believer, you can do that. It does not have to be a pigeonholing of a person. Just share the Gospel in natural and clear ways. Ask the Father to give you opportunity to share a tract, your testimony or a verse of Scripture that makes the Gospel plain.
Simple! Sharing the Gospel is something that every believer can do. If we step up to the 3 by 3 Challenge, hundreds of the “missing you” will come to faith in Christ in 2017. The only thing missing in my invitation is “YOU!”