We’ve all heard some ask why we’re doing things “over there” when we have needs right here in our own communities. We cannot get away from Acts 1:8 that says we are to be witnesses in all these places.
Choosing where and when to get involved can feel overwhelming with so many needs in our communities and around the world. We can use Acts 1:8 to help us categorize our missions and to help us know we have a geographically balanced approach to what we’re leading our people to do on mission. One way to do this is to mobilize your people with a balanced approach by location.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
To get started evaluating you can first gather information on what your people are doing locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. Evaluate your findings to see if what you’re doing is balanced. Are we only connecting internationally on mission? If so, make a goal to lead your people locally and nationally in the coming year.
Make a goal to do missions in each 4 territories. These categories can be a bit fluid in their definitions.
- Jerusalem – Locally: City or County
- Judea – Statewide or Nationwide
- Samaria – Nationwide or Continent-wide
- Ends of the Earth – Worldwide
Even the smallest churches can choose one thing to get deeply involved in for each of these categories. Start with one. Once that one’s operating well and the lay leaders are comfortable leading alone and then take steps to launch another in another category. Or, you can start with all four and recruit someone to lead in each area.
Larger churches can lead each small group or class to have its own mission. Locally, this can begin with a missions blitz day where they serve a local organization to bring salt and light into the community like Operation Insamuch. Next, challenge the group to adopt that ministry or another ministry for a year to PRAY for, GIVE to and VOLUNTEER in together. Serving God together as a small group builds a deep sense community among the group; it also brings people into a deeper level of discipleship that cannot be achieved in a classroom. We have classes that adopted a ministry over a decade ago that they still serve in and they have wonderful stories of ministry to tell! Each church and group lives out its calling in its own way. This is one way the autonomy of the local church is fleshed out in Baptist life. We are empowered to lead out in ministry in our local communities in our own way.