By Peter Meier | January 2, 2017
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?
Ask any kid, “What do you want for Christmas?” and watch her eyes light up. Listen to his imagination run wild. How about you? What makes your heart beat faster, your eyes light up, your imagination run wild?
Is it the same as what God desires?
As we launch into this New Year, take a few moments to read the first 14 verses of Revelation 5. Here is the vision of God’s desire fulfilled. The four living creatures, twenty-four elders and a host of angels too numerous to count all worship the Lamb who was slain, whose blood has bought and paid for every man and woman, boy and girl from every tribe and language and people and nation.
What makes your heart beat faster? St. John gives us a picture of what animates church planters, missionaries, and disciple-makers of all times. It’s people who are saved, ransomed by Jesus’ blood. It’s people who will gather before the throne to praise God for His saving grace in Jesus.
Church planter, mission leader, disciple-maker – isn’t this what you strive for in the coming year? This is what makes your hard work, your tears and toil all worthwhile. This is the vision that keeps you from wasting your life on what doesn’t ultimately matter. This is why you do what you do!
Imagine those who will come to faith this year because of your new church. Imagine those who will meet Jesus for the first time because you prayed and modeled and loved and shared the Good News with them. Imagine the eternal difference in their lives because your heart beats with God’s own desires, your eyes light up with the Father’s vision for the lost, and your imagination runs wild as you plan and prepare to intentionally connect with your community.
Here are five basic missional actions you can take right now to align your desires and actions with God’s mission each day of the coming year:
1) Begin with prayer. Who are those in your acquaintance and/or community who are disconnected from Jesus? Identify and pray for them by name daily.
2) Look for opportunities. How can you daily and intentionally connect with people, speak a word of affirmation, share an act of kindness, give a gift of love?
3) Engage by listening. Listen to learn about your neighbors and co-workers; ask questions; listen to their stories. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice in the Word. Intentionally listen and observe others in your daily rhythms; listen for openings to engage in conversation and spiritual discussion.
4) Serve with love. Your service is a reflection of Jesus’ love. How can your serving build bridges to introduce someone to Jesus? Look for at least one way, each day, to intentionally serve another person in Jesus’ name.
5) Share God’s truth. The ultimate purpose of our mission engagement (being sent), and our life as disciples, is to share what really matters – Jesus’ redeeming love and action. Sharing the story and message of Jesus is finally what we are here for.
God sent His Son to redeem people from every tribe and language and people and nation. And God sends you to reach them with that Good News! In this New Year, resolve to never give up until every ear has heard the story of the Savior!
Questions for Discussion
1. What makes your heart beat faster, your eyes light up, your imagination run wild? Talk about how this aligns with God’s sending of His Son, and His sending you.
2. List the opportunities you have personally to intentionally engage in God’s mission? List the opportunities your church has to be active intentionally in God’s mission in your community.
3. How does Church multiplication fit into this intentional mission engagement? How can you / your church be involved in new church reproduction?
4. How does this vision from Revelation 5 make the sacrifices and hard work of missional engagement worthwhile?
Resources You Can Use
Surprise the World by Michael Frost. This book offers another set of five habits, designed to equip believers to see themselves as "sent ones" and to foster a series of missional habits that shape our lives and values. Good study resource.
Mission Moments is the e-newsletter sent by the Center for U.S. Missions to bring information and encouragement to all who desire to share God's great love in Jesus Christ with others. Permission is given to copy this article for distribution within your congregation or organization. Please credit the author and the Center for United States Missions. For more information contact the Center at (952)-221-0362, or visit our website: www.c4usm.org