I was recently interviewed on a news program and was asked the question, “What is the best way to engage people in conversations that can lead to sharing the gospel?” Of course, there are hundreds of ways, because the Holy Spirit is unlimited and creative in how He can lead us when we are available and responsive. I've found that showing kindness is always a good place to start.
I have spent the last eighteen years going on mission and leading teams on mission through the local church. The Lord has used these years to hone the way I see and lead mission trips. Often, we miss out on the full potential of a mission trip because, though we have a Jesus-centered starting point, we fail to have Jesus-centered goals, measures, and expectations. Here are some things to think about as you plan.
Every month, we feature people, events, and ministries we want our people to pray for. So, join us as we pray to and praise God for what He's done, because we're always better together.
Missionaries working in countries where there is no printed gospel available in the heart language of the people use a method called storying to share their faith. Story sets have been created that create bridges (beliefs and views we share) and address barriers (beliefs that make it difficult for someone to believe) to the gospel. One such example is “Creation to Christ.” It is a crafted presentation that presents the whole gospel story of the Bible beginning with creation and all the way to Christ.
“We need more planters.”
I can remember, only a few years ago, speaking with representatives at some of our national church planting agencies and hearing they were at capacity. At the time, the conversation was centered on increased efficiency in equipping. Processes needed to be streamlined in order to run through more planters. Capacity was the issue back then. Now, it's scarcity.
With both of these sending problems, the answer lies in the way we think—and more importantly act—as sending churches. How do we move past mere rhetoric to actually become sending churches?
If we are honest, most of us American Christians think of our country as the home of Christianity. That, however, is not the case. Each time we hit one of these seams of history, the cultural center, the gravity of the religion, shifted and moved. Today, it is shifting again. Now, the question is, why does that matter?
Though I recently posted an article cautioning against being a missionary too quickly, I believe it is also as important to cast a vision for the joy that is found in following God to the ends of the earth.
My time overseas as a missionary in West Africa were some of the most formative years of my life. You do not have to serve in a foreign country to be close to the Lord or obedient to his call. However, I do know that missionary service has some unique joys. Here are two:
If you are thinking about going overseas, you need to consider a few things in discerning your call. Pastor, if you have people who want to go (and you should), you need to be looking for these things in their hearts. We need many more people to serve overseas as missionaries, but the truth is, not everyone should. Not everyone is ready, and not everyone has the right motivation.