One stormy night, Hudson Taylor was scheduled to speak in Birmingham, England, at the Severn Street schoolroom. His hostess attempted to dissuade him from going in the torrential downpour by telling him that everyone would assume it was canceled. “But was it not announced for tonight,” Hudson Taylor asked. He then said, “I must go, even if there is no one but the doorkeeper.”
The meeting was attended by less than a dozen people, but there was an unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power, and half of those present either became missionaries or gave their children as missionaries while the other half became regular supporters of Mr. Hudson’s mission. -Source: Hudson Taylor—The Growth of a Work of God, Volume 2, Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
When it comes to following our Lord’s command to Go, it is easy to find reasons to stop. The mission is scary. The forces working against us seem dug in. The strongholds of evil look insurmountable. Are will even equipped to carry out this important work? It is my prayer that this will blog will encourage you and not guilt you. There is enough guilt tied to missions now that no one wants to even attempt it. Here is a simple starting point:
1. What has God gifted you to do?
This question is the first step along the journey of determining God’s call for your life. If you’re a good organizer, then God will ask you to work organizing something. If you’re a good problem-solver, then God give you problems to solve. If you have musical gifts, God will give you an opportunity to create musical works of art to the glory of His name. He will use you to do what he has gifted you to do. The Apostle Paul is 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Once you discover what your gifts are the next challenge is discovering who you are impacting with your gifts?
2. Determine whom God is calling you to reach.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” Matthew 10:5-6
Why did Jesus limit the outreach efforts of his disciples? Was it because he didn’t like Gentiles or Samaritans? Of course not! Jesus himself often ministered to Gentiles and Samaritans. He sent his disciples only to the “lost sheep of Israel.” This is the K.I.S.S. principle; Keep It Simple Saints. Like any good leader, Jesus had them start slow. He started them off with something small that they could experience success. The disciples started with an audience they knew well, fellow Jews.
One mistake the church makes is that it sends people to go share the gospel who don’t feel prepared. They fear they are not equipped to talk to strangers. That feeling of failure and inadequacy kills missionary passion. So Jesus shows great wisdom he understood that the disciples weren’t ready. The disciples needed preparation to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” They weren’t yet equipped for such an all-encompassing mission. So, Jesus started them off with a smaller target.
3. Be Clear about the content of your message.
“As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.'” Matthew 10:7
The NRSV translates it this way…
(v. 7) “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.'”
We don’t get to make up the message we tell those far from God. The heart of your message is the good news that God has sent His son Jesus Christ into the world. Jesus came to announce the forgiveness of sins through His death and resurrection. God’s message to the world is always a message of hope. Even when Jesus confronts us with our sin, he also comforts us with his offer of forgiveness and everlasting life.
When we fail to articulate accurately the message God has given us, the results can be that people perceive us as being judgmental. We come off as holier-than-thou. Growing up in the Bible belt of the deep south, the message people heard from the church is, “You’re a sinner and you’re going to hell.” The message of the church is you have bee redeemed, through the blood Jesus and you are called to share that with those who are still outside God’s grace.
May this move you to seek through prayer and the study of God’s word, whom God is sending you to be a messenger of hope too. You have been uniquely gifted by God. He placed you in this world to make a kingdom impact. As Matthew 5 points out,”You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.”
Other blogs in this series on missions: