The great commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed. – Hudson Taylor
I heard this phrase a lot growing up in a missionary family. Since I was a little, we’ve done mission’s work all over the world. We lived in Russia in the early ’90s. We were a part of 25 different church plants in 25 different cities. When I was a kid we smuggled Bibles into China. I’ve seen some pretty supernatural things take place all over the planet that would blow your mind—but God had plans to expand my ideas of his greatness.
At some point along my journey I realized there was a big difference between building something and believing in something. I’ve realized, when trusting my own agenda and strength to attempt to do something great, I’ve always grown tired and frustrated in “doing good.” I think the key question is, “Whose kingdom do you believe in?” that’s when everything always shifts for me. It’s not about my little kingdom but always about the kingdom of heaven invading earth.
There Is More
I love that the ultimate dreamer and creator of the universe has invited each one of us to live out a chapter of his spectacular adventure in the great commission. I believe a million percent that true revival will be the most stunning dream of seeing the great commission becoming “The Great Completion.” I believe the great commission is a global mandate, and at the same time I believe each of us should have a great commission that is a deeply personal mandate.
In recent years for my wife and I, that has been the mission of adoption. A few years ago we started the most beautiful journey. I always thought I knew who God was, but through this journey of adopting a child I re-discovered God in some pretty magnificent ways that completely left me speechless. As an artist and songwriter my prayer has always been “God use me,” yet, I think it’s a very rare thing to have your personal art actually come back to you and dramatically infiltrate your very world and beliefs.
About the time we started our adoption journey I was finishing up a new song called “Like a Lion (God’s not Dead).” Fast forward a few months, my wife and I are sitting in a hospital room, and our son has just been born. My sisters have come to meet their new little baby nephew, and they have brought a stuffed lion with them. I see the lion and make a joke, “Oh the Bashta family, we don’t do teddy bears; it’s only fitting that his fist stuffed animal would be a lion.”
Our child’s birthmother, who was lying in the hospital bed taking everything in, saw the lion. Looking at it intently, she began to tell us a story—her story and ours—a story of God’s omnipresence and how he weaves many stories into one. This sweet, beautiful 17-year-old girl was pregnant, and a friend invited her to come to a church service. While she was there, she recounted, “This worship leader named Chris Tomlin began to sing a song about a lion.” The words pierced her heart and captured her spirit, and she remembered distinctly hearing, “God’s not dead.” She said, “Something came over me like I had never felt before.” She began to write the words of the song out and to just read over them, again and again. This young girl facing an uncertain future said that the same presence that was there at the church followed her to her room that night, and all she could do was write out the words of the song in her journal.
I looked over at my wife Taylor, who was now crying, then I began to cry, and I said, “Well, I actually wrote that song.” The young girl jumped up exclaiming, “Seriously, you have no idea what happened to me when I heard this song.” Then all of a sudden I’m hit with this crazy picture: My son, who was scheduled to be aborted, instead, somehow ended up at this church service, and even before he was born began to hear his father’s song being sung over him—even before he knew who his father was. For me every concept or idea I ever had of God was completely blown.
The world doesn’t need another Christian superstar. The world doesn’t need another Christian empire. What the world needs is the real Jesus. We have a song we sing, “Give me the real thing, not just religion. Stir up my passion with more of conviction.” What does that mean for us as artists? I think if each of us discovers what our heartbeat mission is and what our personal great commission is, then the ultimate global “great” commission will become achievable, as each of us pioneers unknown ground everywhere our feet tread spreading the message of hope all over this unreached planet. All the individual stories will converge the way they did at that hospital bed. We will actually see true revival come to earth in our lifetime seeing the great commission become the ultimate dream: the great completion. Find your mission and abandon yourself to it. May our prayer forever be:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Live out heaven.
Cheers to the journey!
The LORD your God among you is powerful— he will save and he will take joyful delight in you. In his love he will renew you with his love; he will celebrate with singing because of you. Zeph 3:17 (ISV)
Daniel Bashta has spent a lifetime pursuing the mission of God around the world. His first LP yielded the much-covered “Like a Lion” aka “God’s Not Dead” a huge hit for the Newsboys and featured in the 2014 film God’s Not Dead. His most recent recording For Every Curse refreshes the worship scene with unexpected arrangements and lyrical perspective. He serves as a worship pastor at Riverstone Church and heads up GoMotion a non-profit ministry that marries music, media, and missions for global impact.