If Jesus sent his followers into all the world to make disciples, baptize, and teach them to obey all he commanded (Matt. 28:19-20), then those disciples are called to engage the world and all its cultures for Christ in a way non-followers can hear, understand, and respond.
Are you a follower of Jesus? Then you need to somehow be involved in this process.
However, many common objections are frequently given:
+ Who has time in the midst of busy schedules and seasons of life?
+ Isn’t missions for super spiritual people?
+ Can’t I just give a little money?
+ I will pray instead.
+ Someone else will do it.
While these may indicate our realities, every Christian should be involved in some way to share the love of Jesus and make new disciples in places where few Christians exist.
That essentially is what it means to engage the world for Christ.
What does this look like? Here are my top five ways for Christ followers to engage globally:
1. Do pray. There is nothing wrong with that! Alfred Lord Tennyson famously said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”. But pray informed, and pray specific. Don’t just pray, “Lord, bless the missionaries”, or “God help the Chinese”. Instead, get to know someone personally from another culture. Ask about their friends. Read about the problems and spiritual concerns in a country or region of the world that interests you. Use a world prayer guide such as Operation World edited by my friend, Jason Mandryk. The more personally connected you are, the more you are likely to pray.
2. Nothing wrong with giving either. Support a missionary, give to relief projects when disaster strikes, and so on above what you normally give to your church. But don’t just give token amounts. How much do you spend on entertainment each month? Movies, music, games, athletic events, and all the paraphernalia that goes with those things? How about eating out? You might be shocked if you added it all up! If Jesus died for the world (you and me included), then we can “die” to paying top dollar for that big movie release. Go instead to the matinee or when it comes out on Redbox. Make food in your own kitchen instead of eating at a restaurant several times a week. Give the difference to missions. Or, be really bold and give a sacrificial amount to a seminary or Bible college overseas, to a missionary’s car or medical fund, or to church planting among the unreached. These kind of gifts have eternal impact. I can let you know of several opportunities if you want.
3. Make an intentional effort to befriend and get to know your neighbor/co-worker/refugee/service provider who has a funny accent or different color of skin. Find out where they are from. What kind of foods do they eat? What is their spiritual background? What are their struggles since moving to the US? Help them learn about life in the US. Ask them what life and culture in their country was like. Tell them about yourself. Invite them to a meal in your home. Try some of the strange foods they eat. Go with them to the cultural festival. Help them as they deal with government red tape. Visit them when they are sick. As you do these things, you will have natural opportunities to share about Jesus. Not because you plan to, but because they will ask! In Matt. 25, Jesus tells how important it is to welcome strangers. He knew that this was not only a good way to share the gospel, but also good for us because it helps us be obedient to his commands.
4. Go on a short term mission trip. While he was still with them, Jesus sent the disciples out on a couple of missions to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. It was not a vacation! They came back praising God for what he did through them (Luke 10:17). Short term mission trips are great ways to get exposure to other peoples and cultures of the world. When you get back, you will have life-long friends, incredible memories and stories that will last a lifetime, and will have seen God work in powerful ways. The danger is to let it just be a good experience. Instead, share about it with your small group, show your pictures to your family, neighbors, and church. Tell what God did in you and through you. Challenge others to go on a trip. If they are hesitant, pay their way, or go with them. Let the experience be a catalyst for more spiritual growth and ministry in you and your church. One other warning. Don’t see the people as “helpless natives” whom you have come to bless. More than likely, God will use them to bless and change you more than you ever dreamed. Respect them for that.
5. Don’t be afraid to move overseas permanently to share the Gospel, no matter your age. If Jesus willingly left the glories of heaven for us, should we not be willing to move to another culture for his sake? You don’t need to wonder if you are called. Everyone is, if Matt. 28:19-20 means what it says. If you go, it will be the hardest thing you ever do, but it will be worth it! You will do things you never thought you would do, go places you never dreamed of going, see God work in ways that are truly miraculous, and find an incredible sense of fulfillment. Before you go, be sure to get proper training at a place like CIT so you will be ready to learn a new language and culture and minister more effectively. You don’t have to be super spiritual to be in full-time global ministry–just willing to say yes to God and trust him completely. God did not send his Son to die so we would be comfortable. His blessings to us are so that others can be blessed with the knowledge and love of Jesus.
Engage globally so that others can have an opportunity to meet Him!