Jason Lange Assimilation/Discipleship Cherry Street Baptist Church
When my son was younger, he enjoyed sitting on my lap in our car’s driver’s seat, grabbing the steering wheel and pretending that he was driving. Now that he’s 17 he’s no longer content with pretending, and he operates his own vehicle. He knows a car is meant to be driven and understands the benefits of that power. He wouldn’t let his car just sit parked. In comparison, many Christians remain parked in apathy’s driveway when they’ve been given the powerful vehicle of the Gospel to share with a lost and hopeless world. What can we do as the pastors and leaders of God’s people to facilitate missions minded movements? Here are four suggestions to lead our people to DRIVE toward God’s passion (winning the nations) rather than PARKING in their own desires.
1. Prepare spiritually.
I used to own a 1989 Peugeot 309. I loved that car! It was fast with a unique look. I’d arranged for its care while I was overseas and planned to drive it when I returned. However, the car wasn’t maintained and was parked in a grassy area. When I called to check on my car, I was given bad news. It was infested with animals and vegetation and was no longer serviceable. I was heartbroken, because the car had value and purpose. I wonder how heartbroken God must be over His people who’ve rendered themselves unusable because of their sedentary, self-focused lifestyle and have lost their determined resolve to see sinners won to the Savior. We should fast and pray for our people to experience spiritual renewal evidenced by a desperate urgency to evangelize the lost.
2. Lead proactively.
John Maxwell states, “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” Global evangelism is a HUGE responsibility that’s impossible to accomplish in a yearly missions emphasis. However, when we as pastors and leaders make it a priority to involve ourselves and our co-laborers in stewarding the people (visitors, neighbors, family members, etc.) in our Jerusalem on a regular basis, we will greatly enhance our church’s passion and effectiveness to win the world to Christ.
3. Provide practically.
One idea is to divide your people into groups that are responsible for the missionaries you support and encourage them to contact their missionaries on a regular basis. Celebrating missionaries’ special occasions are great avenues for your people to build meaningful relationships with them, so that your church members can also hear and pray for their burdens, successes, and failures. This one-anothering may lead to the thought, “They are just like me! If they can obey the Lord, so can I!”
4. Organize intentionally.
Do you remember the first time you drove a car? Excitement and fear rushed through you as you were responsible for great power! There are few experiences more impactful than watching someone hear the Gospel for the first time. It’s moving to see a culture receive the truth that hope is possible and attainable. It’s humbling to see souls, in spite of their economic or life circumstances, willingly surrender everything they know to serve the One Who has rescued them from a Christ-less existence. There may be no greater practical investment than that of a short-term mission trip. It will change the perspective of any participant, and will motivate not only our members, but us as leaders also.