As I approach the end of this interesting, inspiring and informative walk through the Book Life On Mission, I unveil the third section – Mission Practices. In this section we transition from gospel foundation to strong mission practices. The authors, Willis and Coe, present the position that, “Everyday missionaries don’t just study, learn, and sit around all day reflecting on the gospel in a quiet room. They have an urgency to act – living out their faith in real life.” Willis and Coe then present four clear-cut practices they believe will help us live out lives on mission: (1) Identify (2) Invest (3) Invite and (4) Increase
Section 3/Chapter 9-12 Mission Practices
Chapter 9: IDENTIFY (people who need the gospel)
In this chapter the authors ask the question, “Where do you start in your efforts to join God in His work and be a disciple-maker?” and gave the short answer as “start where you already are”. Meaning, go where you already go. The point is then made that if our souls are satisfied in Jesus, we can turn our eyes away from ourselves and instead identify people, near and far, who desperately need the hope of Jesus and to mature in Him.
Chapter 10: INVEST (in others as you share the gospel)
The authors’ primary position in this chapter is that “As we invest in the lives of people, we help them continue to take the next step toward Jesus, with the hope that one day they will become a reproducing everyday missionary as well.” They explain that growing in the gospel will move you from identifying those around you who need the hope of Jesus to investing your life in theirs. Being on mission is not only about going to a specific place- it’s about being intentional where you are. It is spending time with others and building relationships.
Chapter 11: INVITE (people into disciple-making relationships)
The chapter presents Invitation to include making a concerted effort to be on mission in community with others, with a major step being to invite people to give their lives to Jesus. As we invite people into disciple-making relationships, biblical community is formed; providing encouragement, support, and accountability as persons are established in Christ.
Chapter 12: INCREASE (disciple-making by sending people to make more disciples)
In this chapter the authors explain that the goal is to see a “movement”. The movement includes spreading the gospel, facilitate people getting into relationship with Jesus, and helping them to grow to maturity. This will result in us seeing more people groups reached, more churches started, and more small groups launched to enfold the lonely into community. The authors believe that it is love for Jesus and His mission that will compel us to identify the leaders around us, raise them up, and send them out to reach others with the gospel.
This book comes down to the implementation of these four practices after tabling arguments in chapters 1- 8 about who are every day missionaries, why they are and the duties involved in joining God on mission. In chapters 9-12 I think the authors make the point that when we combine our natural rhythms and passions with the gospel and use them to build relationships, powerful things can happen. Romans 10:14-15 makes the point that whether Jew or Gentile, we are saved when we call upon his name, however this faith must be deliberately shared.
Identifying who God is leading you to may be as simple as taking a short walk with your eyes open. As everyday missionaries, we are rooted in the knowledge that God is already on mission around us, and the fact that He has placed you in your environment because He wants to use you to reach the people around you. Share your life with people. Invest therefore means to make friends, ask them to lunch, throw a party, a cookout or going bowling. This worthwhile investment takes time and usually takes us out of our comfort zone.
As we invite people into disciple-making relationship, biblical community is formed. This relationship is a mentoring one that even starts before salvation and continued thereafter. We need this encouragement, support, and accountability as the relationship deepens. Increase is then the natural expectation. People need to see other believers repenting, confessing, rejoicing in God’s grace, and forgiving others. They need to see the gospel applied to life. People do better seeing God’s grace lived out among a group of people. Biblical community is like a city on a hill that emits a great light to those who are wandering around in a dark desert.
Please spend some time reflecting on the following questions and consider taking some actions:
- Who has God placed around you that He may be calling you to be on mission with (coworkers, neighbors, friends, those who share hobbies/interests, etc.)? Mention specific names and pray for them.
- What would it look like for you to invest in the people God has led you to identify? How can you consistently build relationships and spend time with others?
- What is the hardest part about making disciples and reproducing yourself as a missionary?
- What does the increase step look like in your setting? How can you be intentional about raising up others and sending them out?
What are your thoughts?
See you for Chapter 13 (the last chapter) next week.
Romans 10:14-15 –“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
~ Garfield Miller, Missions Coordinator, Jamaica