As You Go

Identity is a popular topic in our society. There are frequent debates about what defines who we are and what things are the most important. As Christians we often boil things down to a list of things we do, but being a follower of Jesus has always been something that should change our identity. In his book, A Door Set Open: Grounding Change In Mission and Hope, Peter Steinke writes about how easy it can be for congregations and individuals to lose sight of their mission. That mission is core to identity.

“In In his classic study, Transforming Mission, missiologist David Bosch reported that the Bible passage called the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18–20, was not understood to be primarily about mission until the early nineteenth century. Before then, the verses were read as part of the rite of baptism. Biblical scholarship has revealed that the mandate ‘Go!’ is not in the original Greek. It is a participle—’going.’ The translation would be ‘as you go.’ Theologian David Augsburger notes how broad the mission is with this simple change of ‘as you go’: ‘As you live, as you go about your daily work, as you move to new settings for service, as you join or create new communities of discipleship, as you fulfill your vocation as a follower of Jesus— you shall be witnesses. This is not a sales strategy. This is not a mandate for mass media. This is not a method for achieving church growth. This is a call to authentic, faithful witness in all of life.’”

Basically, the great commission is not only a command to keep. It is a way to live. Doing these things “as you go” echoes what the Israelites learned all the way back in Deuteronomy 6:7. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Making disciples is not only what we do. It is who we are all the time.


Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)


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