I remember sitting in church as a kid and listening to the “missionary” who had just returned home from his mission telling us about the challenges and adventures of sharing the gospel in some far off land. I enjoyed those services, but honestly never made the connection that being a missionary wasn’t just for a select few in the church, but instead was the call of every person in the church that God had saved by his amazing grace.
“Every Christian is a Missionary”
In Acts 1:8, the resurrected Jesus Christ gave his disciples very clear instructions as to what they were called to do as a result of His resurrection from death and upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Disciples’ of Jesus then and today have received a very clear job description from their Lord and Savior. He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” These words are not complex. I know we want to make them such, but they are quite simple. Jesus is saying be a witness for me. Show people me. Share my message with people. Jesus is saying, by the power of the Holy Spirit (God in you) you are a missionary right where you are at and wherever that is, you’ve been given a great opportunity to point people to Jesus!
You’re a Missionary - Begin to See Yourself this Way!
A missionary is simply a Christian on mission with Jesus. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Consequently, if we are going to be faithful Christians, we must love what God loves and be about what God is about. Now the incredible thing about this is that God is allowing us to take part in His amazing work of rescuing lost people. He wants to use us and share his work of salvation with us – this is humbling and awesome.
I understand that the thought of this may be causing you some anxiety, but it should not. The reality is that being a faithful Christian begins with having good theology, which is right thinking about God. The bible says that God saves sinners. We do not. The Bible says that God changes hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27). We do not. The Bible says that salvation belongs to the Lord (Jonah 2:9) and He chooses whom to save (John 15:16) and the blessing comes when He allows us to play a role in His saving work. So the pressure is off. It’s not about you, but the cool part is that if you remain faithful you will get a front row seat to what God is doing all around you. The following are opportunities that will increase your chances to be used by God in this amazing way.
1) KNOW NON-CHRISTIANS
It seems like common sense, but too many churches are set up to babysit nice moralistic, hypocritical, “Christians” and create a bubble around them. As Christians, we have to be outward focused. As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends us into the culture. It’s so much easier to share the gospel if you belong before you ask people to believe. (John 20:21)
2) THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU WILL LIVE
Make your living situation missional: meet new friends and build relationships to see lost people meet Jesus instead of secluding yourself with people who all act and think the same way you do. Instead open your eyes and notice all the non-Christians in your neighborhood or apartment complex. Open up your home and invite people into your house and share life with them. Be normal, have a party. Don’t conform, but be a movement of change in an area where it’s desperately needed.
3) GET INVOLVED (NOT JUST AT CHURCH)
Join a club relating to your major, hobby, or interest. Stop saying “yes” to every church obligation and begin seeking how the gospel can apply in all areas of life. Build relationships with non-Christians by playing sports on a team without all your Christian friends. Put your kids in sports, join a gym, and involve yourself in a community activity.
4) START A SMALL GROUP IN PUBLIC
Instead of meeting in a house or apartment, start gathering in a coffee shop or at your school. This will not only allow you to support the local community, but it might also allow somebody else to eavesdrop on a worthwhile conversation.
5) SERVE THE COMMUNITY
Get involved with a local non-profit or service center. By serving the community alongside non-believers, you’re doing the work that Jesus calls us to do by being missional not only to the populations you’re serving, but also to the people you’re serving alongside.
6) PRACTICE RADICAL HOSPITALITY
Unfortunately Christians aren’t known for being the most generous people around. Buying someone a coffee or lunch is a small sacrifice that can speak volumes and make a huge statement in demonstrating grace. Plan on this being an on-going expense in your life – so create a budget for it. I promise you this will open the door for you to share the gospel to many who otherwise would never listen.
7) BE AVAILABLE
If you are a neat-nick and/or you pack your schedule full of busyness and activities you will miss multiple opportunities to love, serve and lead people to Christ. A good missionary has enough margin in their day, so that when they get that phone call or knock on their door they aren’t pressed for time, so they can be used by God to show and share the gospel.
Life is busy, I get it, but are we busy with the right things? If we are too busy to meet a need of another and to join God in what He is doing in rescuing and redeeming his children, then in fact, we are too busy.