You can find mission statements like “make disciples” or “preach the Gospel” or “the task of reconciling people to God.”
But even those statements must first be grounded in the question of “who?”
Our mission always begins with people. The people whom God has called us to. This must be the starting point. That is where we must begin to walk out an organic, Jesus-following, fruitful lifestyle with a Scriptural mission.
And every one of us have different people that we are called to.
- Some of us are called to encourage and support out-of-church believers. Yes, that can be a calling for a season.
- Some of us are called to work with people in prisons, or people on the streets.
- Some of us are called primarily to care for our own family for a season due to a variety of reasons (though generally God brings us to broader missions in time as well).
- Some of us are called to work with international students or to travel and work internationally—often in specific regions or among a specific people group.
- Some of us are called to work with Muslims in our own country or in another country.
- Some of us are called to work primarily within our own neighborhood, or country club, or hiking club, or…
- Some of us are called to work, and maybe live, within the inner city.
Here is my point. The ministry of reaching people, making disciples, and even gathering people into groups and churches begins with the context of the people that God has called you to. There is no other starting point. The ministry processes will look different depending on the context. The principles will be the same. The mission may be the same. But the methods, and tools, and strategies will all come out of the people that you are called to work among.
Start there! Know who you are called to and then you can focus on your mission to bring the Gospel and make disciples (followers) within that unique context.
Then and only then can you begin to adapt these principles of fruitfulness, as God leads, specifically to those whom you are working among:
- Possibly finding like-minded people who share your same mission
- Building relationships and connections among those you are called to
- Reaching out and sharing the Gospel (Good News) in a way that is Good
- Developing discipleship relationships (inviting people into knowing and following Jesus as you guide)
- Gathering in ways that fit with the developing disciples (followers)
- Help the developing followers to engage in their Scriptural mission to those they are called to