We’ve been looking at how the Great Commission provides a good example for leaders desiring to work through their purpose, mission, vision, and goals.
- The Purpose Statement (why we do what we do): love (We had to look beyond the Great Commission itself for that.)
- The Mission Statement (what we’re to do): go and make disciples of all nations
- The Vision Statement (how we’re to do it): baptizing and teaching
But it ends there, not giving us specific, tangible goals for getting there.
Why No Specific Examples of Goals in the Great Commission?
Certainly there are a number of ways to go about baptizing and teaching. Why didn’t Jesus get more specific? We could suggest a number of possible reasons:
What worked then might not work now. Since we have this same mission today, perhaps Jesus didn’t want us to get locked into what was needed for the early church so left out specific strategies.
What works best for one minister or ministry due to spiritual gifting, background, or calling may not fit another. We see this even among the Apostles. Those who were called to work more with the Jews approached things differently than those called to make disciples among the Gentiles. Hence, their specific goals may have differed but they still had the same mission and vision Jesus gave.
What works in one setting may not work in another. Look at the Apostle Paul. The way He carried out his own ministry varied from one setting to the next. Sometimes people supported him and other times he supported himself as a tentmaker for the sake of the mission. He said he became all things to all people so he could by all means save some (1 Cor. 9:19-23). He had a mission and a vision for how to get there. And, he also set specific goals but they varied based on the setting.
How Are We to Know What Goals to Set?
While the Great Commission doesn’t give us a detailed plan or list of specific goals, we do find the help we need for determining the right goals for the setting and times in which we live. Look at the context of the Great Commission. The goals to reach the vision must be governed by what comes before and after the Great Commission.
1) Jesus began, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18).
We need to move out under His leading or authority. That means we will invest much prayer into the setting of goals. We will seek to get on page with God, not relying on human wisdom. As we trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, He will direct our paths (Prov. 3:5-6).
2) Jesus ended, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).
We need to sense His presence in what we do, not only as a sign of approval but also for the help we need. That means we will look to Him for the power to accomplish what He wants us to do, not relying on our own efforts. We are not alone in this. As we acknowledge our constant need for Him, we will be able to do all things as we find our strength in Him (Phil. 4:13).