Growing Together in the Great Commission and Great Commandment in New England
Love God, Love others and Make disciples. The great commandment and great commission are the core of kingdom building and disciple making around the world. But what does it mean to love God and Love others practically? How do we effectively make disciples in a New England context? According to Micah 6:8, loving God and loving others means doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly. These are the marks of those building God’s kingdom here on Earth. When we commit our lives and our churches to these activities we open the door for disciple-making. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus with our neighbors means first seeking justice for the oppressed, championing mercy over judgment, maintaining a posture of humility and only then will the truth of Jesus shine brightly. The GO Conference focuses growing in these areas together as New Englanders doing ministry in a New England specific context. Learn from the successes and disappointments from those in New England seeing fruit in these areas. Come and encourage other New Englanders with your own stories of success and disappointment. Connect with other like minded Jesus followers committed to advancing the gospel in our region.
To share Jesus with our neighbor means to stand with our neighbor oppressed by injustice. We cannot expect our words about Jesus to have authority when our actions do nothing to end the injustices around us. The Do Justice plenary session encourages and inspires us to remove the injustices that so often hinder our friends and families from accepting the love of Jesus in their lives. We will explore justice issues related specifically to gender and race this year. We will see how fighting injustices are central to making new disciples of deeply skeptical New Englanders who often see the Christians faith as only interested in filling buildings and supporting their programs. Led by New Englanders doing amazing justice work, workshops will equip you to stand with the oppressed and fight injustice here in New England.
Research into the attitudes of unchurched people reveals that Christians are seen as too judgmental. How is this possible? How could a group of people receive God’s mercy develop such a reputation? Jesus attracted the underserving. Those the temple structures and institutions deemed unclean were drawn to the mercy of Jesus. Jesus loved mercy. He loved extending grace, forgiveness, and pardon. His ministry was one of compassion to the outsider, announcing a kingdom for the broken and guilty. Making new disciples in New England requires a radical love of mercy displayed in the actions of Jesus’ followers and our local churches. The Love Mercy plenary session encourages and inspires us to be people and local churches who love to extend mercy to the underserving. Without compassion we will never have a voice with those who feel underserving of God’s grace. Sharing the Gospel in New England means creating space on our sofas and in our sanctuaries for the broken, unredeemed outcasts Jesus loves. Our Love Mercy workshops highlight ways in which individuals, churches, and businesses here in New England are creating radically merciful and welcoming environments for sinners and tax collectors to meet Jesus.
Sadly, the more sanctification works in our lives the less likely we are to humbly remember that we are sinners saved by grace. We too easily become arrogant in our walk with Jesus and lose our dependency on Him. Walking humbly with God positions us to be healthy spiritually. Without healthy souls we will never effectively share God’s love with our world. New Englanders need humble disciple-makers building authentic relationships with neighbors and co-workers. Without humility we can not have empathy. Empathy opens the door for authentic relationships with those far from Jesus. Humility forces us to step into the world of the broken and lost. We are able to give grace only when we daily walk humbly in the grace of God. Our Walk Humbly plenary session challenges us to maintain the humble spirit of Jesus for the sake of those far from God. Workshops focus on equipping you with soul care strategies to humbly walk close to Jesus so you can effectively share, from a place of spiritual health, the truth of Jesus.
Rickey A. Bolden
Retired NFL Player | Pastor | Currently serving Less Fortunate in Washington, D.C.
Evangelism and discipleship have for too long been presented as two separate activities. Discipleship has come to mean learning more about Jesus and happens after you receive salvation, while evangelism has come to mean the programs of a local church intended get people to commit to following Jesus. We think this is a false dichotomy. The GO Conference believes in a more wholistic approach: Disciple-Making. This after all is the imperative of Jesus: Make disciples. This is both a personal and corporate commission. All of us are called as individuals to be a witness of God’s grace and mercy in our lives to the world around us. Our churches also ought to be effective witnessing communities to their cities. The Make Disciples Plenary session encourages and inspires us to answer the call go into our everyday lives, commissioned to personal disciple making, walking alongside people as they journey towards Jesus. Our workshops equip you with New England tested strategies to be effective in sharing Jesus, inviting people to follow him and seeing new commitments here in a New England.
(London Institute for Contemporary Christianity)
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