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Deep and Wide

By Larry Kaufman, Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC) Director of Church Planting

This article was originally published in The Beacon, May 2017, in the column, “Multiply.”

As a kid, one of my favorite songs in Sunday-school class was, “Deep and Wide.” I wish we could sing it together, just for old times’ sake. Aside from the nostalgia, there is a compelling message in that old song that I think captures God’s heart for Christ-followers, for pastors, and for local churches.

Our gospel mandate is to be theologically deep and to be evangelistically wide. It is not either/or. It is both/and. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, AND teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20).

The great commission is a clear and compelling call to make disciples and to multiply the gospel everywhere. It is a call to be “deep and wide.” The temptation though is to be “deep or wide,” instead of being “deep and wide.” We must resist resolving this tension and seek to live in the center of it so we do not compromise either part of the great commission.

Our mission as a network of local churches is to be “deep and wide.” We want to live out of a deep sense of identity in Christ, and to boldly engage in Christ’s mission to the world. We want to risk our lives to make more disciples and to multiply the gospel by developing servant leaders, by planting new churches, by sending more missionaries, by starting other campuses and by forming missional communities that will incarnate the gospel in our neighborhoods and in strategic cities.

“Let’s keep dreaming about the potential and possibilities of the local church, fully engaged, in the mission of Christ.”I propose that we start by praying bigger, bolder, mountain-moving prayers for the mission of Christ to multiply on the earth. What if we started asking God to mobilize every person and every resource in every church toward our mission of multiplying the gospel in our neighborhoods and communities and to the unreached in the 10/40 window who have no Christian witness?

I have a sense that God is repositioning CMC for greater kingdom impact and gospel multiplication. But, we need to act and seize this moment. We must embrace innovation, creativity, and empower those with apostolic gifts to blaze new trails and to pioneer new kingdom work. Let’s keep dreaming about the potential and possibilities of the local church, fully engaged, in the mission of Christ.

I believe that all of us want a compelling mission to live for, and to die for. And, this is it, friends. We are called to be “deep and wide.” I encourage you to talk with your pastor or church leaders and begin with these questions: What would it look like for our church to radically multiply the gospel in our community and beyond? What would it look like if we were “deep and wide”?

Look out for the next article in the “Multiply” column in which RMM President, Joe* continues the conversation about pursuing a deeper and wider church.

*Name omitted online for security