During the adult Sunday School at Hinsdale, we’ve recently been thinking together about our mission. What does it look like for us to extend the love of Christ to our neighborhood?
As I’ve thought about it, it has occurred to me that one of the greatest obstacles to mission is a simple lack of intentionality. We desire to see people come to know Christ, and we are even willing to do things to see that happen. But sometimes we don't make a plan, a specific choice for how we might pursue this goal.
I’ve found Moody Church pastor Ed Stetzer’s advice helpful here: start with a map and a list. Start by taking a sheet of paper and drawing a simple map of your neighborhood, with the houses of the neighbors you know personally. Which of these people do not yet know Christ? And then, in addition to this map, write a list of 4-6 friends, family members, or co-workers who don’t yet know Jesus.
Do you know what you have once you’ve finished this? When you combine this with the “prayer-care-share” model of mission, you now have a mission plan. Set a goal to pray weekly for the people on this sheet of paper. As you talk to them, try to discern specific ways they can be prayed for, struggles that they’re encountering. You can truly extend the love of Christ by praying.
And as you engage in prayer, look for opportunities God gives you to care for your neighbors. What are ways that you can serve them and be a neighbor to them? And as you seek to love them with prayer and showing you care, it may well be that you find yourself with the opening to share the hope you have in Christ.
Being faithful on mission is hard. It’s almost impossible if we don’t take tangible, practical steps. See if you can find some time this weekend to put together a map and a list, and then see what God does as you use it for his glory.