Board games were a staple of my childhood; Candy Land, Monopoly, Clue, you name it. I can remember sitting cross-legged on the floor, calculating every move, roll, and torpedo launch at my brother’s Battleship. Little did I know, I was using strategy in order to gain the best possible outcome (which of course was for me to win). I was carefully and skillfully developing a plan of action to achieve the desired goal or result. We use this at Watermark too.
Watermark relies heavily on strategy to equip our body to serve well. Fortunately, the most strategic servant of all time is the same One we call Savior. All of Jesus’ ministry was strategic. The way He taught - and to whom, His travel, and even His miracles were rooted in how He could best love, heal, and reveal Himself.
In Acts 1:8, we see Jesus giving his followers a strategy (and power through the Holy Spirit) to be witnesses for His Name. And in each of His progressive directions (then and now), strategy makes a difference!
In the context of Acts, Jerusalem was “home base.” For us, our "Jerusalem" is our local community: neighborhoods and school districts, even extending to our entire city. With school work, job requirements, or kids’ sporting events, it might not seem like there is any margin for service in your community, but this is exactly where Jesus sends us first.
And strategy is important here!
I've had the chance to serve this year with the QuestCare Clinic, and I've seen how strategy is built into the walls and imprinted on the hearts of each of the staff and volunteers. Through the clinic's location ( Skillman and LBJ), low barriers of entry, and pastoral conversations in exam rooms, volunteers have opportunities to serve our community physically and spiritually because of strategic placement, accessibility, and relational initiation. Strategic service in our own city is making an impact, through QuestCare Clinic and many other great ministry organizations.
In Acts, Jesus was talking about His followers' region. For us, this may correspond to the entire Metroplex, or even Texas or the United States.
One great example of this is in Disaster Relief. When disaster strikes (as in the recent Garland tornadoes), we yearn to go help. Yet even in these efforts, strategy is a necessity.
As you may remember, in 2013 a tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, and caused a lot of damage. As a native Oklahoman, it was incredibly humbling when teams from all over the United States came to serve.
But in that situation, their well-intentioned service could have been voided if there had not been a carefully developed plan for serving that community well. It is not helpful to have able bodies standing around with no direction. Fortunately, volunteers came with plans and the ability to execute those plans, and the community began to find some relief. Strategic service in our state and country is making an impact.
Who doesn’t want to hop on a plane and go on a discipleship trip overseas? This is many Christians' immediate inclination when they think of outreach and service. Yet we shouldn't look for Jesus to send his followers to the ends of the earth if we haven't been faithful to serve those nearby.
In January, I returned from a week-long discipleship trip to Haiti through Watermark and their partnership with Mission of Hope. I was blown away by the strategy they are using to equip North Americans to serve the Haitian people.
Door-to-door evangelism, relational conversations to gather data on community needs, and conferences to equip Haitian pastors are just a few of the ways that Mission of Hope strategically achieves their goal of bringing “life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti.” Watermark has partnered with Mission of Hope as an opportunity to impact an entire country. Strategic service at the ends of the earth is making an impact.
Acts 1:8 gives us a strategic outline of where we can start serving strategically. While we will not always see the results we want ( 1 Corinthians 3:6), there is power in being strategic in order to do things with efficiency, effectiveness, and excellence (1 Corinthians 15:58)... in our communities, country, and across the world.
Visit watermark.org/blog/external-focus every Tuesday to read a new External Focus blog.