Last week I mentioned that I’d gotten to attend Perspectives on the World Christian Movement here at Watermark. This week, I wanted to share a little more about what I learned in that class about God’s heart for the nations – and our role in His work.
As a participant in Perspectives, the class and its material felt a little bit like drinking through a fire hose. With several hours of reading and homework each week, the content was great – but a lot to take in. But that expanse of content left each participant with something to take home. From individuals returning from overseas missions to local Dallas residents wondering if God had something bigger for them, Christians were ministered to and mobilized.
While I could go on and on about what we learned, here are three simple takeaways to give you a glimpse of what I learned about reaching the world for Christ:
1. We were blessed to be a blessing.
Scriptures like Genesis 12, Exodus 19, Psalm 96, Luke 4, the Book of Jonah, and 1 Peter 2:9-10 indicate that we were made for a purpose. Over and over again throughout the Bible, the Lord communicates that He cares about the nations, wanting His people to be a blessing to others.
So often we get it backwards: we think God’s blessing is ours to keep. But rather, the Lord has overwhelmed us with his grace, kindness, goodness and mercy so that we can share it with others.
We have been given a message that demands sharing. Not one to hold onto and keep to ourselves.
2. You aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last.
Our church has a rich and robust history. And I’m not just talking about the local expression called Watermark started 16 years ago in Dallas, Texas. Christ’s Body extends back thousands of years, and it has been the source of hope here on earth since its inception.
Heroes of the faith have stepped up to take chances, to risk their lives and their reputations to help shift the paradigms of the culture at that time. We know that today there are a finite number of unreached people groups AND we have structure and tactics on how to get there – all because in the past 2,000 years members of the worldwide Church have sacrificed everything to get us where we are now.
3. God gave us brains. It’s okay to use them.
So often we simplify our understanding of “ministry” down to the act of “loving on others.” Yes – this is absolutely our goal in the end!
But the Lord designed us with lots of brain power, and he’s ok with us using it in our ministry efforts. Over the years, missionaries and the Church have been strategic and intentional about how they reach the nations. While being a Christian is simple, it is never easy – and that includes our efforts to reach people.
To help cut down on the difficulties associated with sharing Christ specifically across cultural boundaries, many missionaries have been diligent to study methods and “best practices” so we impact in the best possible ways. It’s okay to be intentional and thoughtful with how we reach the nations. It’s worth spending our time doing research and showing up prepared, rather than just arriving in a country (or our city!) ready to “love on” whomever we find there.
Find the External Focus blog at watermark.org/blog/external-focus - with a new entry every Tuesday!
Photo Credit: O.S. Fisher via Compfight cc