To the Nations From Your Neighborhood

Topics: Missions | Community | Missional Living | The Gospel

It’s really easy to forget how big our world is. There are well over seven billion people across seven continents with an estimated 300,000 babies born daily. More than half the total number of people in human history are alive today.

Because I’m prone to forget, God constantly reminds me of not only how big He is but also the grandness of His world. My most vivid memory occurred on my way back from India in 2011. I was in Dubai waiting on a connection. I passed a gate where nearly 100 Muslim men, all dressed identically, were waiting on a flight to a city I’d never heard of, on an airline I’d never seen. It was so different from Dallas, my neighborhood, and really anything I’ve ever known. I had no category for what I saw.

Yet in the economy of God, the two are not disconnected. My neighborhood is simply part of the nations. If you think about it, we’re really just one people group among thousands on Earth, created by God for His distinct glory. We’re those “ends of the earth” people Jesus told the Apostles to reach (Acts 1:8).

And by sending out the gospel, they did reach us, in time, from almost the other side of the world.

So what is our role in this mission? How do we fit into bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth? Are we all supposed to be missionaries?

This is where most of us get lost. We might like the thought of international missions but don’t feel any inclination toward becoming a missionary. Over time, we relegate international missions to only those with an interest. And here’s the problem:

God’s fully aware that most of us will put down roots in our homeland. He also knows everyone’s not called to be a missionary. In fact, we believe, along with church history, that missionaries are uniquely sent out by God, common people with a special calling.

But what does that mean for the rest of us? If you’re not a missionary, that’s okay. Be a faithful gospel witness wherever’s home. But if you don’t see yourself uniquely invested in the global mission of God, now that’s nearsighted. Perhaps you’re paralyzed by the comforts of your neighborhood. Maybe you haven’t looked at a map in a long time. Maybe you’ve simply forgotten the great cost upon which Jesus our King left His neighborhood to pursue us personally in ours.

As those who may be called to stay, here are four ways that, within our local neighborhoods, we can involve ourselves in global missions as the people of God:

  • Praying
    Begin praying this week. Make global prayer a staple for your life and Home Group. Pray for each nation to be reached, for the missionaries you know and many more to be raised up. Pray for God’s work within specific countries and among specific people groups. Take courage that the Lord hears and answers.
  • Preparing
    Come alongside those around you who have expressed a desire for the nations. Encourage and pray for them. Give financially. Spend time discipling them. Point them toward the Sending Program, our year-long program for nurturing future missionaries.
  • Caring
    Consider caring for a missionary or missionary family overseas, specifically from The Village. How can you sacrifice for a missionary’s comfort? Do you see your abundance as given for someone else’s needs? Ask God to lead you toward something specific. If you’re interested in learning more, email your groups pastor.
  • Going
    Go overseas in the next year. Consider a trip through The Village or even going with individuals from your Home Group.

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