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Great Commission Spirituality

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael A. G. Azad Haykin


Introduction: Serving in Light of God’s Promises in Christ

1- Rest: Abiding in Christ and the Peace of God

2- Prayer: Abiding in Christ and the Nearness of God

3- Meditation: Abiding in Christ with God’s Word

4- Contemplation: Abiding in Christ within God’s World

5- Witness: Abiding in Christ for Loving the Lost

6- Humility: Abiding in Christ, Assured by His Love

7- Courage: Abiding in Christ when All We Have Is Christ

Conclusion: One with Christ in Life and in Death



Great Commission Spirituality
Abiding in Christ, Serving in Obscurity
E. D. Burns

Christ's Faithfulness for Our Fruitfulness

Amid life’s constant change and uncertainty, the call to serve in the Great Commission can often feel overwhelming and isolating. How can one maintain steadfastness and joy through the pressures and obscurities of such a calling? The answer is found not in the strength of our own efforts but in a deep, transformative truth often overlooked due to its simplicity: life in Christ.

In Great Commission Spirituality, E. D. Burns skillfully unfolds the peace-giving assurance of our union with Christ. This weighty truth provides not only the foundation but also the force behind our endeavors, allowing us to labor with confidence even in barren fields. By emphasizing that Christ lives in and works through us, Burns reassures readers that true fruitfulness in ministry comes from abiding in Christ, who orchestrates our work by his Word and perfect timing. This resource offers a robust theological framework paired with practical applications.

This book encourages any layperson, church leader, or missionary burdened by their vocation and calling to rediscover the joy of serving in reliance on Christ. Whatever your season of life or place of service, may this renew your vision and strengthen your soul with the unchanging truth of Christ’s life within you.

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  • Jesus instructed his disciples to remain in him as a branch remains in its life-giving vine. At no point in ones Christian life do they reach a place, status, role, or ministry that will allow them to dislocate themselves from this vital connection to Christ. He clarified that apart from him, we can do nothing. Our union with Christ is our life-source, our greatest privilege, and our joy-producing reality. All ministry that would bear lasting fruit must be grounded in this. Dr. Burns, from years of experience serving in missions and ministry, writes with a passion to remind Great Commission-minded people that their source of hope and fruitfulness is not tethered to their enthusiasm, boldness, or novelty. Rather, it is born of vital union with Christ.
    His book, Great Commission Spirituality, serves as a grounding reminder of the privilege that it is to draw our life from the one whose name we intend to proclaim to the ends of the earth. You will walk away grateful for his faithful reminder—and example—of the fact that we are an “in-Christ” people who are graced with the opportunity to make much of the king in every corner of his realm.

    Matt BennettDirector of Long-Term Ministries, Reaching and Teaching International Ministries

  • In commissioning his disciples to takes the good news to the ends of the earth, the risen Lord promised that he would be with them and to give him his Spirit. We should not be surprised then that many of those who have experienced the reality of union with Christ most deeply and written about it most profoundly have been men and women caught up in obeying that commission. Burns has not only imbibed the best of that literature but has added to it. Great Commission Spirituality is not a book that readers will finish and set aside. It’s a book they will underline and quote, save and share, and return to and savor. I highly recommend it.

    Steve BryanProfessor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

  • It is far too common for us Great Commission servants, both new and experienced, to labor under the crushing weight of not being or doing enough. As a result, we anxiously strive to discover and implement new habits and methods that will unlock greater faith and fruitfulness. So often, those efforts appear spiritual, but in the end, they leave us feeling more discouraged and exhausted. In this book, Burns aims to alleviate this burdened way of living by pointing us to the rest and freedom we have through our union with Christ. By mining the writings of missionary giants who have gone before us, Burns demonstrates how their fruitfulness and joyful service was rooted in the doctrine of the “great exchange.” If you have ever felt burdened or ineffective in your labors for the Great Commission, as I have, then this book will be a balm for your soul. As you read it, let it draw you near to Christ, in whom we have everything we need for a life of service that is filled with joy, rest, and genuine fruitfulness. 

    Matt DeaverProfessor of Theology and Missions, Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Nourishing. Joyous. Energizing. Strengthening. Amazing. These are some of the words I’d use to describe the experience of reading Burns’ Great Commission Spirituality. If you know Christ, this book will draw you closer to him. If you’re in ministry, this book will cause you to grow strong from Christ’s own strength. If you’re considering missions, you’ll be motivated and instructed. And if you’ve been making disciples among the unreached for the better part of a century, you’ll have your heart drawn closer to where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. This book will leave you awestruck as you gaze at the glories of the Creator who unites himself to his creatures.

    Derek JosephDirector of Recruitment, Pioneers

  • Dr. Burns’s contribution to Great Commission studies uniquely shows how our union with Christ is our identity and all our ministry flows from there. Many authors have highlighted the importance of “character” in mission and leadership. Yet, this book unpacks the concept of “godly character” in a beautiful way, so as to come from union with Christ. This book is remarkably applicable to all ages and all cultures of the global church.

    Emmanuel KwizeraCatalyst for Proclamation Evangelism, Lausanne Movement; International Missions Director, African Enterprise

  • In the trenches of Christian life and ministry, we can so easily lose sight of what is central and most needed. Burns has written a wonderfully refreshing reminder to Christians of the precious treasure we possess in union with our Lord Jesus. Being united to Christ by faith fuels and motivates our obedience to his Great Commission. Amid trials, when we suffer discouragement and disappointments in life and ministry, the truth that “Christ is in us and with us and for us in everything” propels us forward with courage and confidence. I highly recommend this encouraging book.

    Eugene LowLead teaching Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Singapore

  • What feeds and forms our Christian service? In Great Commission Spirituality, Dr. Burns answers this question by explaining that rest, prayer, meditation, contemplation, witnessing, humility, and courage are not mere rote disciplines of the Christian life, but rather are the product of our union in Christ, which then become the spiritual instincts we use to boldly and joyfully labor as ambassadors for His glory and kingdom. Regardless of your calling, this timely and convicting book will challenge your thinking on why we fulfill the Great Commission while pointing you to the real power that sustains us as we proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all peoples.

    John A. Tucker, Esq.Pastor of Community Bible Church, Beloit, Ohio

Additional Details

  • Pages: 172
  • Publisher: William Carey Publishing
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publish Year: 2024
  • ISBN: 9781645085706
  • Vendor: William Carey Publishing