Priority of the Great Commission

How high of a priority should the Great Commission be for church leaders?

To determine the Great Commission's priority for you, take a look at all Jesus said about it. Since He is the One with all authority who gave the commission, certainly He is the One to determine its priority, not us.
Jesus never claimed making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20) to be the greatest commandment. Rather, He identified loving God with your whole being and loving your neighbor as your self (Matt. 22:37-40) as the greatest commandments. Outreach is just one of the ways to do that. We also show love for God through worship, prayer, and learning about Him in His Word. We show love for people through sharing the Gospel with those who don't know Him, fellowshipping with those who do know Him, and being benevolent to all. As a leader, you must look at the big picture. While evangelism is a priority, it isn't your only objective.
Jesus did not limit the Great Commission to evangelism. Disciplemaking goes beyond the initial salvation experience. Remember that Jesus went on to add baptism and teaching people to obey everything He commanded, that which happens after conversion. Clearly evangelism is the starting point. Ultimately our responsibility is to not only help people come into a relationship with God but also to learn to love Him more and more which will spill over into loving people.
To revolve every ministry and every decision around evangelizing, to a level of obsession, is to miss the ultimate point of the Great Commission. Don't expect a person who is not a disciple, or follower of Jesus, to be able to truly love God and people. The word Jesus used for love was "agapao" -- divine love. Without the Spirit of God within us and His power at work in our lives, we cannot fulfill the greatest commandments.
Jesus did not imply that the ekklesia (gathering of believers, the called out ones) should focus on appealing to and catering to the lost. He said "go" and make disciples, implying just the opposite. Church leaders are charged with shepherding the flock (1 Pet. 5:2), the sheep that are His, so they are built up and equipped, or taught, to "obey everything He commanded" which includes going and making disciples. When church leaders structure everything around evangelism, they make it easy for its believers to forget the part about making disciples when they "go."
To Do: Pray about what Jesus' words about the Great Commission should mean for you as a leader. How should His priority look in your ministry?
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