If you would have asked me five years ago to explain what the gospel is and what our role is in the Great Commission, I have no idea what I would have told you.
At that point, I’d been on staff at three different churches as a worship leader. On a weekly basis, I was leading people to sing and calling them to worship Jesus. But the gospel? That could take some time and a lot of explaining to finally get to the core of something that may (or may not) represent the life, death, and resurrection of the Christ.
The Great Commission was written on the wall next to the stage that I played music on for years. Go, make disciples, baptize them, show them how to follow Jesus. For some reason I always thought ministry was someone else's job, and I'm was just there to play music. Then one day I met some "missionaries" (or the code word, "goers"). It turns out they were an ordinary family that simply decided to take the Great Commission seriously, sell everything they have, and move to an Islamic country.
This was mind blowing to me. I thought only "super Christians" did mission work, and the rest of us just clapped and gave money at the end of their slideshow. This was the first time God began to stir me to Great Commission action. I led worship for their send-off service when they left the U.S. I met some of their friends who encouraged me to do a training group where you learn how to pray for people and share the gospel—so I did it. It was like something that was sleeping inside of me came alive. For the first time I was empowered to show my faith while walking alongside the people that showed me how to do it. It was incredible. I couldn't stop praying for people and sharing the "Gospel Tools" I had learned. Coworkers, family members, friends, and neighbors—no one was safe.
From there I actually started teaching people what I was learning, even though I was just figuring it out myself. And guess what? God moved. People started reading the Bible with me and my friends, people started following Jesus, people got baptized, and people started making disciples.
At one point, I was training a young man in one of my groups how to pray for people at Walmart. It was his first time ever doing something like this and maybe my fifteenth time or so. We went up to a man that was holding a microwave and looking at his phone and asked him if he needed prayer. He was blown away as he had prayed that morning that if God was real to give him a sign (this happens quite often). He shared his story with us and it was very broken. We prayed for him, shared our testimonies with him, and shared the gospel. The guy who came into Walmart to buy a microwave decided to follow Jesus that day. A couple weeks later we baptized him in Bull Creek in Austin.
God is good and faithful, and He takes our minimal efforts of obedience and uses them.
I ended up quitting my job and have since been working for a missions mobilization organization for the past four years. It has been the hardest and most wonderful thing I've ever done. Spiritual warfare became more real than I had ever experienced. Anxiety showed up in my life when I had never struggled with it before. Joys and triumphs were experienced as lost people found the path to life. Constant grief and sorrow were felt as the brokenness of the world likes to appear to be winning.
One of the hardest things I’ve experienced in mobilizing people into Great Commission work, both locally and overseas, is conviction of flexibility. To follow Jesus in general, you need to have an unusual amount of flexibility and faith in God's timing and orchestration of events... just like Jesus did. Jesus was so flexible. His ministry was a ministry of interruption. When your plan gets interrupted, chances are God is doing something and asking you to trust Him.
For those of you in ministry, discipling others, trying to go to the nations, or just trying to figure out what you're going to do tomorrow. I encourage you to be fully dependent on the King, be flexible for what He might have in store for you, and put your "yes" on the table, no matter what He asks.