The Mandate for World Evangelism (Part 9)

May 26, 2013

This is the last of the nine part series that Kip wrote in approximately 2004. At this point, many disciples, looking for revival, discipling, a church that held to Jesus’ dreams & commands, the love that is seen only among unified disciples who are sold-out for God’s will and the movement of God- moved to Portland to pursue that end. They found there a church that had been severely hurt and decimated and yet a church that was striving to rebuild- with all their hearts. The dream of honoring God by giving all we had to the building of his kingdom filled our hearts. None of us knew exactly what to do yet we scoured the scriptures and prayed night and day to be the people that God would use to inspire his people. That he did. Now, 9 years later we see the kingdom forcefully spreading again all over the globe! God is able to use the discontented, distressed, indebted and discouraged to start something that will change the world! My prayer is that this article moves your heart to be on fire for the Lord in our generation!

Matt Sullivan

Mike and Chenelle Patterson - Church Leaders of the soon to be planted Gainesville International Christian Church
Mike and Chenelle Patterson – Church Leaders of the soon to be planted Gainesville International Christian Church

Special Guest Editorial by Kip McKean

Part IX: The Dream: The Evangelization of the World in a Generation

“Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.'” Matthew 22:29

It has become necessary to write one more essay in the series, The Mandate of God for World Evangelism. “The dream to evangelize the world in a generation” was the compelling vision and unifying mission of the Boston Movement. (ICOC) We believed this dream was God’s dream and had not been accomplished since the first century. We believed every disciple should be willing to “do anything, go anywhere and give up everything” for God to use them in this momentous undertaking. Our faith in God and His plan of making disciples, as revealed in Jesus’ ministry, would allow disciples to multiply around the world in a generation. Today, if questioned very specifically several leaders of the former ICOC churches have quietly renounced their belief in this dream. Correspondingly, confusion among disciples has arisen on this issue. It is very concerning when leaders are in error because they do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. To regain clarity, there are two fundamental questions that must be answered. First, what does it mean to evangelize the world? And the second, what and how long is a generation in God’s Word?

Womens Day Speakers and Hostesses
Our Priceless Women’s Day Speakers and Hostesses! From Left: Elizabeth Eckels, Lucy Vazquez, Helen Sullivan, Keynote Speaker Theresa Broom, Chenelle Patterson and Linda Rose!

To evangelize the world was explicitly commanded by Jesus to the apostles in Matthew 28:19-20. Did this mean everyone in the world would become a disciple? No. In fact Jesus taught only a few would find “the narrow way.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Did it mean everyone would go through the “first principles study series?” No. One can become a disciple in the duration of a “chariot ride” by simply being taught to love God with all ones heart, soul, mind and strength, to follow and live like Jesus and be baptized for the remission of sins! (Acts 8:26-39) THE PRIMARY ISSUE OF WORLD EVANGELISM FOR JESUS IS PROCLAMATION, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) In Acts 5:28, the charge against the apostles was “You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching!” This impact, enhanced by the ripple effect of persecution, was accomplished in seven years. By 60 AD Paul writes in Colossians 1:6 saying, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing.” Even after the world was evangelized, people were still becoming disciples!

Before I moved to Boston, the disciples of Heritage Chapel Church of Christ “filled Charleston, Illinois” (all 18,000 people) with the gospel in just under three years! Everyone had heard about the church, through disciples preaching the Word and the ensuing persecution. In Boston, through God’s power we filled that city of four million with the gospel, with the help of the Boston Globe Newspaper, in less than 10 years! However, in both cities people were still becoming Christians after the city was saturated with the gospel. To evangelize the world, would be to fill it with the teaching of Jesus as the early Christians did Jerusalem.

Womens Day International Prayer
Women’s Day included an international prayer in English, Spanish and French! From Left: Melina Hairston, Jasmine Hurey and Paula Harpole!

The second question of the length of a generation can easily be found in such quotes as Exodus 1:6-7, “Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.”This generation was the span of Joseph’s and his brother’s lives. Joseph began overseeing Egypt at 30 years old! Joseph lived to 110! Therefore, this generation lasted about 80 years! Judges 2:7,10 reads, Though no age is given for Joshua when he began leading God’s people, like Caleb he was probably around 80. He dies at 110 and the elders around him outlive him for perhaps 20 years. Minimally this generation would span 50 years! Too many have looked at a modern definition of a generation; for example, the generation of Baby Boomers to Generation X was only 28 years, (birthdates 1946-1964). However, Biblically a generation is at least 50 to 80 years…a lifetime. This indirectly was Jesus’ explicit command to the faithful eleven, “Go to all the nations and baptize them!” Inferred, the apostles were to accomplish this task through the multiplication of disciples in their lifetime.

Many of the leaders who no longer believe in “the dream to evangelize the world in a generation,” thought that the “push and pressure” to grow, plant churches and expand into new countries was excessive. I personally am not of that persuasion. I do believe that some churches and Christians were exasperated by these costs. Let me be clear, it was and is wrong to exasperate a fellow leader or disciple. However, it is sad that they were silent and did not speak up for years, because bitterness came into their hearts causing them to resent “the dream” and its corresponding people and monetary sacrifices. Gone is that in tense urgency to save souls, since we no longer feel the urgency of accomplishing God’s dream in our generation, our lifetime. Today there exists in many churches an overreactive “pendulum swing” away from a hot, passionate proclamation to a lukewarm indifference to the very mission that saved their souls! Also, those that broke off from or left the ICOC no longer saw a need to “pool” their collective resources of people and money to plant and sustain churches in particularly the third world. Today these splinter groups are doing little or nothing for world evangelism. Rightfully, by the intent of God, “the dream” birthed in our movement an urgency, a zeal to pay any price , incredible love between disciples and a unifying interdependence between the churches.

Womens Day Women Song Leaders
These talented women shared in song during our Women’s Day! Left: Tiffany Taylor, Right: Airielle Genesis

The first KNN story about the disciples in Norway called us all to “grab the dream.” Let’s once again determine to fulfill God’s dream to “evangelize the world in a generation.” God’s Spirit and plan make it possible. The price is incredibly high, but Jesus has already paid the ultimate price. One question still remains, will we follow in His steps willing to pay the same price or abandon all urgency, true unity and an undying love for Christ?

Kip McKean

Future Planting of the Kingston Jamaica ICC
Another special announcement was shared this past Sunday as Mike and Chenelle Patterson will also plant the KINGSTON, JAMAICA ICC in the summer of 2015!

2 Comments

  1. by Laris on October 28, 2015  12:37 am

    When it's broken down like this eneagvlizing seems much more basic, but in some ways harder. Repent and believe is is a pretty clear, black and white thing. It's sometimes way easier to talk to people in shades of gray.

  2. by Youngmi on December 3, 2015  8:29 am

    well, apart from the stuff i suggested in my sencod to last paragraph, i think that on an individual level, Christians just need to be less concerned with getting people to pray a sinner's prayer and more concerned with relationships. i heard a great sermon on it once, and the point was that the more Christians are involved in the lives of non-believers, if they are seeking, the more they will discover the various aspects of Christianity. And a lot of times, and I've read very interesting stories about this, people will come to a point where they say, I think I've been a Christian for a few days now, because I really buy this whole thing.

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