Bishop Emeritus (BE) Dr Robert Solomon rounded off the three-day Aldersgate SG 2019 event with his sermon during the Celebration Service on 25 May at Paya Lebar Methodist Church.
As this year’s Aldersgate SG centred around the topic of missions, BE Dr Solomon highlighted that the Great Commission has too often became muddied over the years as the Church has been distracted from her primary mission by worldly issues and challenges. He then went on to cite four important factors that influence successful missions.
Making disciples: Primary catalyst for the Great Commission
BE Dr Solomon observed that churches are very often preoccupied with making converts rather than disciples.
“One of Wesley’s commendable actions was that he organised the people who responded to his gospel preaching into societies, classes and bands to give emphasis to the disciple-making task of missions. As a result, the early Methodist movement was clearly a disciple-making one, where Methodists were taught and trained to follow Christ with faith, devotion, discipline and obedience,” said BE Dr Solomon.
Acknowledging God’s authority
Churches should do their best in disciple-making. However, they must not lose sight of God’s authority and come to think that their good results are wholly by their own efforts.
“Jesus reminds us that the basis of our Christian life and service is His supreme authority,” said BE Dr Solomon. He added, “It is possible that in the light of our management expertise, connections, technology and finances, we may lose sight of the authority and power of the Lord as we get sidetracked with our own human power and might. We must repent of such inclinations and turn to the Lord who has authority over all.”
Relying on God’s presence
Jesus’ disciples gave in to fear when their boat was hit by a storm that He ultimately calmed, As BE Dr Solomon pointed out: “What was the lesson? [It] was the presence of Jesus—when we have it, no storm can overcome us. The Lord’s presence in our lives and in the Church must not be taken lightly nor ignored. Have we come to rely on our skills and cleverness that we have forgotten His presence?”
Are we personally involved and invested?
Lastly, BE Dr Solomon underscored the importance of being personally invested and involved in missions. Every Christian is to be a missionary, period. Be it going overseas to spread the Word of God to the unreached or simply reaching out to colleagues or friends and telling them the Good News, all believers are called to be part of the Great Commission.
“The Great Commission,” BE Dr Solomon stressed, “is issued to all. In our baptism, we are not only incorporated into the Body of Christ, but also commissioned into His service.”
Jason Woo is Methodist Message’s Editorial Executive. When not working on the latest articles, he enjoys long jogs and cuddling up with his cats along with a good book.
Photos courtesy of Paya Lebar Methodist Church.