What Does the Great Commission Have to Do With Christmas?

Great Commission and Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve. We gather around the tree. Dad opens his Bible to read the Christmas story. Squirming and anxious to open our gifts, we listen, wanting him to finish so we can open presents. These are my childhood Christmas memories. They always include the reading of the story of Jesus’ birth. It was a vital part of our tradition. Does the Great Commission fit with the Christmas story?

Maybe we can set it aside for awhile as we focus on the birth of Jesus, the wise men, angels, Mary and Joseph. Or maybe not. Could it be that the Great Commission is actually a vital part of the Christmas story?

Incarnation Is What Christmas Is All About

Jesus’ birth was His greatest missionary act. He came to us. God entered our world. He left Heaven to become one of us.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

John 1:14 NIV

The theological word for this is incarnation. That simply means God became a human. That is what happened at Jesus’ birth – on Christmas.

The message of the season is a missionary one! Christ modeled what He would later command His disciples to do, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” His coming to earth was the “Go” part.

One of the best ways we can celebrate Christmas is to do as He did. Following His example, we enter the lives of those who don’t know Him. We eat their food, hang out with them, learn their ways of life, beginning to understand (and even experience) their challenges. We demonstrate His Presence there. God, in us, shows up in their world. We call this being incarnational. It is what Christmas is all about.

But what does this have to do with Disciple Making Movements? This is a DMM blog right?

At Christmas, It’s Go – Not Come*

The tendency during this season is to focus on inviting people to come, rather than going to them. We plan events and parties, inviting people to come to them. And often they do come. More people attend church on Christmas than any other day of the year. These events have an impact, no doubt. After Christmas though, many never return.

We invite people to programs. Well and good, but that is not the same as making disciples. Could Christmas become more about disciple-making and not only about inviting people to church?

For the last few years, I have been wondering about some things.

  • What would happen if instead of putting our energy into big Christmas programs, we trained local believers how to share the Christmas story?
  • What if they then go and share it with their friends, neighbors, and relatives? What if they offered to do a Discovery Bible Study (DBS) with them, instead of just inviting them to a Christmas show?

We could make it a Go Christmas, not a Come Christmas.

At Christmas, It’s Everyone, Not Some

Sharing the story of Jesus’ birth is a wonderful part of Christmas. So many have never heard it before! Or if they have, they don’t understand what it has to do with them. They have no clue as to why Jesus came to earth, why He was born.

Everyone needs to know, not only that He was born, but the meaning of His birth. You can not predict who is open to the gospel. The only way to find out is to share the message of Jesus with them, inviting them to respond.

This Christmas, share the gospel with everyone! Sow seeds abundantly. Train everyone you disciple to do the same.

  • What if you could double the number of people hearing the story of Jesus in your city this year?
  • What if the number of personal testimonies shared and people hearing God’s story from a friend or relative would double?
  • That is a good New Year’s goal! Why not start at Christmas?

At Christmas, Make Disciples Not Church Attendees

Getting people to church for a Christmas program won’t fulfill the Great Commission. It’s good, but not enough. The vast majority of people decide to follow Jesus because someone shared with them, invited them to accept Him and then discipled them.

Let’s train our church members to make disciples- even at Christmas! The shift must take place, where they move from showing up each week for a program, to actively pursuing the lost. Help them understand that being a disciple means you also make disciples.

Christmas is a great time to teach the “Go” of the Great Commission!

When you read, tell, or preach the Christmas story this year, include the Great Commission. Encourage everyone to follow His great model and “Go” – entering the lives of those who don’t yet know Him.

Let me know in the comments how you are practicing DMM principles in how you celebrate Christmas! I’d love to hear from you!

*These 3 principles come from the Training for Trainers (T4T) concept that originated with Ying Kai. They are applied to Christmas by C. Anderson.

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