Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Jesus’ first message was about the gospel and the kingdom (Mk. 1:14-15). His final message given to the church is known as the Great Commission: go, make disciples, baptize and teach (Matt. 28:19-20).
These truths are foundational to the EFCA. This is the theme of the just published EFCA Today: “The Main Ingredient: How Disciplemaking Enriches Our Church Culture.”
I had the joy and privilege of addressing this theme and our history with these truths at last year’s Missional Summit, which has been adapted as an article: Why Make Disciples? The roots of our disciplemaking ethos Here is how I begin:
We are people of the Book. We are gospel people. From the beginning of our movement, we have been part of an evangelical stream. The touchstone of that stream is the inerrant, inspired, authoritative, sufficient Word of God that finds its culmination in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout history, we have this stream of who we are as evangelicals: committed to that Word and committed to the gospel to form and shape us.
And we have the record of Jesus’ final earthly word given to the disciples, what we refer to as the Great Commission.
And here is my conclusion:
Disciplemaking is nothing new—not new to the Evangelical Free Church of America, and certainly not new to church history. It’s as old as revelation yet as fresh and relevant today, straight from Scripture.
To pursue this vision, let’s continue to talk about disciplemaking in each and every context and corner of our movement; let’s encourage each other to make it both a denominational and church-by-church priority. Finally, let’s work to create and share resources that will help us make disciples who make disciples.
After all, we are people of the Book. We are gospel people. We are disciplemakers.
Read the whole article for a further exposition of our history. Then read the rest of the articles. Finally, assess how you and your ministry reflect, or do not reflect, Jesus’ commands, and discern what needs to change to reflect them.