The Global Church Network – birthed two decades ago – has grown to a coalition of more than 2,600 denominations and organizations, along with more than 700,000 local churches that want to see disciples in every nation on Earth within the next eight years. Milestones along the way include planting five-million new churches for what the group calls "a billion soul harvest."
GCN held a pastors and leaders conference last week in Orlando, chaired by founder James O. Davis. Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas was one of the speakers at the three-day conference. He challenged those gathered and those watching online to guard themselves as they commit to God's mission.
"What is the biggest hindrance to spreading the gospel around the world?" he asked rhetorically. "It is not the global pandemic, government hostility nor racial disunity. I believe it is the self-destruction we are witnessing every day by God's servants who fall into sin and unbelief."
Jeffress spoke with AFN after returning from Orlando. He expresses excitement about Davis' vision for GCN.
"I'm glad that he has a goal and put a date on it," says Jeffress. "He's not trying to say this is when the Lord is going to return, but I know this: either Christ is coming soon or I'm going soon. But all of us have an expiration date on us."
The Southern Baptist pastor points out that technology is helping spread the gospel at unprecedented rates as the day of Christ's return draws near.
"I think one reason God gave us the gift of radio and television and the Internet was to fulfill that Great Commission and make sure everybody who wants to hear the gospel has an opportunity to hear the gospel," he shares.
Jeffress also makes it clear that the Great Commission – spelled out by Jesus for his disciples in the last few verses of Matthew 28 – will remain "in effect" even after the gospel reaches all nations.
"Remember, the Great Commission is to go into all the world and make disciples – not just converts, but disciples: people who are faithful followers of Jesus Christ," he states. "And that's going to take a long time to do."
The coalition will convene again in Orlando in two years for "Synergize 2024" – and an update on the progress toward fulfilling the Great Commission by the end of the decade.