SAN ANTONIO - Fulfilling the Great Commission requires Texas Baptists to work united for the cause of Christ, according to presenters in the final worship service of the Texas Baptist Family Gathering.
The Great Commission is Christ's command to His followers, said Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield. They are to be doctors for the sick, people who bring the ill to a place of healing.
"I believe that's our mandate," he said, preaching from Romans 12:3-4. "I believe that's our call. I believe we must be passionate about bringing men and women into the kingdom of the most high God."
There are people in every community that need Christ, Evans noted. Christians must move outside the walls to share the gospel through service and word. Each Christ-follower has a responsibility to share the good news of Christ with those around them. If each believer takes that duty seriously, great things can be accomplished in the name of Christ.
"We cannot do this alone," he said. "We cannot save our cities, our state, our nation or our world alone."
"Assassins of unity" lurk, however, according to Pete Pawelek, pastor of Cowboy Fellowship in in Atascosa County. They undermine churches' ministry efforts.
Six assassins that Christians should look for and prevent from destroying the church are: pride and arrogance; unforgiveness; me-itis (selfishness); unbiblical conformity; gossip and cowardice. Each of these attributes can all rise up in our lives and prevent the unity that God desires in our lives.
"If we desire to experience and live the full life of Christ, we must purge this deadly disease from our church," he said.
Pawelek ultimately encouraged Texas Baptists to "ensure unity assassins are stopped and no longer given a place in God's church."
When that takes place, great things happen. The pastor thanked Texas Baptists for the work they have done over the past decade to embrace cowboys across the state who felt lost without anyone looking for them. Within the past 12 years, more than 200 cowboy churches have been started across Texas, reaching thousands for the kingdom of God. Pawelek shared that more than 1,000 new believers have been baptized in his church within the past 10 years.
This kind of belief in unity must be more than lip service, Evans preached. If congregations believe in cooperation, they must work together and fund cooperative efforts. They must treat each other like beloved family members.
"Unity cannot be something we just talk about," he said. "It must be something we live out every day of our lives."