Living in a State of Mission
God’s Word is for all people in all places. The need for the gospel is just as important for our neighbors who don’t know Jesus as it is for a tribe in the middle of a country we can’t pronounce. Missions is not compartmentalized by age, location, or job description but a state in which we live. In your season of life, your personal call to missions might be with your family, your coworkers, people at your grocery store, or friends at your school. Seasons change as does the focus God calls us to within our own missions.
No matter what season you’re in, you must plan for missions—don’t just wait for the opportunity to arise. Identify the who, what, when, where, and why of the people you’re trying to reach. Is it a specific group or family? Would they like any events your church or youth group have coming up? Invite them to participate with you. Do the youth in your youth group have specific friends and family they want to reach? Have conversations with your students about how best to approach others and how to be a friend to someone else.
Invest, create, be open, and anticipate. Pray that God will give you the right moments and times to invest in the lives of others. Listen to him and obey. Take an extra cupcake to a friend’s house if you have been baking. Encourage youth to ask their parents if they can invite others to dinner (or to go out to dinner). Create times for conversation—not just about church and Jesus but also about life and struggles. Jesus works in and through situations and lives. You may find out you and the person you’re reaching out to are facing similar struggles, which you never would have known if you hadn’t taken the time to talk.
Listen to Hear
Wherever you go, people love to be heard. Something changes when that happens—our souls connect, walls can be broken, and true relationships can form. Don’t listen with intent to respond—instead listen to hear and to internalize what others are saying. Ask follow-up questions if you’re confused, and make sure you clarify: “I hear you saying ______. Is that correct?”
Know Your Limits
God gave us each different abilities. Know what you’re capable of and what is more than you can handle. Be willing to allow God to use other people in your group, delegate ministry opportunities, and understand that you can’t be all things to all people all the time. God uses us together as one body to bring other people to Christ. You may start the conversation, but God has in mind someone else to build upon the foundation he allowed you to create.
Missions isn’t a plan, nor is it really a people. Missions is a call from God to be obedient to him wherever he leads. God will disrupt your plan, intentionally change your course, open your ears, and stretch your limits. He’s a God who is able. Listen, lean in, and love how he moves in your life. When you do this, he’ll do great things in and through you.
Elizabeth Barnard is a random researcher, blogger, missions consultant for Thirst Missions, traveler, and a family oriented school nerd. Author of “Go Away Closer”, she loves photography and tries to stay tuned in to see ways God shows up in the mundane and the amazing.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.