A Natural Process
Mark 4: 26-27. Jesus was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.”
Love the Lord
The call to missions begins with an authentic, personal relationship to the Lord. We are to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Dt. 6:5, Mt 22:37). Our service in missions flows out of our relationship to Him. We stay connected to Him as He sends us where He needs us to go in order to accomplish His purposes in the world.
See the People
Jesus told us that the fields are “white unto harvest” (John 4:35). When you ask God to show you these fields, everywhere you will begin to see pockets of people that you haven’t seen before — people disconnected from the Lord and from the fellowship of His church. Ask Him to show you where He wants to send you, and just watch what happens. Of course, you must be prepared to go when you ask, or there isn’t much need for you to have the information. Be careful! Once you finally see the people as God sees them, you won’t ever be the same. Let Him show you just exactly where it is that you need to go.
Go into the Fields
Once you connect with God’s heart, nothing should stop you from going to the people who need Him. As Jesus left heaven to come to earth, so He sends us out of our comfort zones and into the world. (John 20:21). Instead of asking people to cross all kinds of boundaries (ethnic, cultural, economic) to meet us where we are, it is important that we meet people where they are. In other words, if people won’t come to church, for whatever reason, we must take the church to them. The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20) compels us into the mission fields.
Take the Gospel with You
The most important word in John 3:16 is “whosoever.” Every life is important to God. Mission Arlington has always been a “ministry of ones” for that reason. It is important once we go into the fields not to forget why we are there in the first place (Roms. 10:14). We can do so many things for people and forget the very best gift we have to give. People need the Lord. We have good news that has been entrusted to us, and we dare not keep it to ourselves.
Gather People into Bible Studies
As quickly as you can, start a weekly Bible study. If you have been around the church for any time, you may be surprised to learn that many people haven’t heard even the most basic stories of the Bible. You will also see how people are attracted to God’s word (Hebs. 4:12) and the difference the Bible will make in every day living. Stay close to the gospel message (John 3:16) when you teach. Make sure you are answering questions from the Bible that people are actually asking. You don’t have to know all the answers. Just teach from your heart, and watch what God will do.
Let the Bible Study become Church
You may call them Bible studies, but before you know it, the people gathering with you will call it church. Don’t resist this natural growth process in the life of a group of people gathered in God’s name. God will establish His church (Matthew 16:18). Don’t worry that this may not look like what you’ve always thought a church should look like (steeples, pews, etc.) Just watch God at work in people’s lives. As people accept Christ, watch how quickly they will Let the Bible study become congregation. It will be exciting when they begin to share their faith and minister to each other.
Set the Church Free
It isn’t an accident that the command inherent to our Lord’s Great Commission is to make disciples. It takes time to help people grow in the Lord, and there will be many ups and downs along the way, so don’t let yourself get discouraged easily. As people grow into a healthy relationship with Christ they will begin to bear fruit (John 15: 4). As the disciple grows closer to the Lord, he or she won’t be able to help seeing the fields which are white unto harvest. Then the process starts all over again.