“The “baton” of the Great Commission Mandate – to disciple all peoples of the world – has to be passed from one generation of discipling apostles to the next. Each generation is responsible for reaching those with whom it identifies. The prophetic task of the church is to speak the word of God, using understandable language and appropriate means, into a world of rebellion and confusion. It cannot take refuge either in castles of dogmatic assertions or in museums of fossilized ecclesiastical structures and liturgical antiquities. The church is also inspired by the hope of Christ’s return. Indeed, as an anticipatory sign of that event it is learning to live God’s future now.” Eddie Gibbs, Church Next: Quantum Changes In How We Do Ministry

Gibbs sums up well what some of the challenges are for the passing of the baton of the Great Commission to the next group of leaders coming up. Its a question of ensuring that they are being prophetic to the culture – ie forthtelling the word of God to the stories that are captivating people’s lives and encapsulating the idols of their hearts. Its a question of helping these next leaders to be clear and relevant with their language, choices of metaphor, and symbols so that they make an indelible imprint upon their surrounding neighbors – be that local, or global; sense our world is becoming increasingly globalized. Its a question of not inheriting everything from the past just because its from the past, but rather acknowledging the cultural & contextual timely-ness of past ecclesial structures and liturgies for their day and searching for suitable ones for our own day. And lastly its a matter of making changes not just in light of the different surroundings of the church today, but also in anticipation of the final day when Christ returns.

In a breif way Gibbs has given you and I much to consider and relfect upon: What does it mean to pass the baton? And how can the baton be passed respectfully, and in honor of those runners before us in the race?