Christians today find their call to ministry in the words and mission of Jesus. The first century Apostles did the same. When Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,” the disciples took him literally and began their ministries with that initiative. Jesus said to go, so they went.
The New Testament books of Luke and Acts tell us that they waited in Jerusalem–as Jesus had instructed them to do–until they were filled with the power of God. Then, beginning from Jerusalem, they spread out to teach people the good news about Jesus Christ.
Many times when our congregations think about spreading the word of God we think about mission work. For most of us that means sending people to teach the gospel in Africa or Asia or South America–someplace foreign and distant. Jesus did say, after all, to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). But we often miss an important point. They were to begin right where they were in Jerusalem.
I expect that nobody reading this little blog is in Jerusalem. But the plan Jesus initiated is still a wise plan for us to follow today. If we want to make a noticeable difference in the world around us, it makes sense that we should start here at home.
Whether you are in Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, California, Texas–wherever you are–there are people around us right now who don’t live with much hope. They don’t have faith. Their lives are not blessed as far as they can tell. Most of them just don’t know God or what he’s like. They don’t know that Jesus Christ died and was raised back to life as the Father showed his power over sin and death. They don’t understand that new life can be found by living with faith in this risen Lord. And they don’t know these things because we haven’t told them.
It’s great to support men and women who go overseas to live as missionaries. The world needs more people like that. But somebody needs to get the message out right here, beginning right where we live. If it isn’t you and me, who will it be? So here’s a simple but powerful way to begin.
Pray. Pray daily for the people around you who need to hear and experience the good news of Jesus Christ. Pray that God will open their ears and hearts. Pray that God will give you courage and words that will give people hope. And then watch for the doors God opens. He will bring people into your life so that God himself can touch them. He does his work through us! His power is as great as it was when the church began two thousand years ago in Jerusalem, and the church can grow again like it did in the beginning.
The world will be a better place when we let God work through us here and now whether we’re beginning in Searcy–or Jerusalem.