By Emily Drayne
I’m a missionary . . . and you are too. Missionaries look to make a difference in a community. It’s simply not true that a missionary must relocate to a new country. There are more “home”-based ministry efforts than ever before working in local communities, in inner cities, in children’s homes, on Native American reservations, and elsewhere. Where can you and the people you lead get involved?
This year I’ve personally committed to being a “missionary” where God has placed me. I’ve written out some foundational steps I’m pursuing along this journey that I want to share with you. Whatever your situation, God has placed you in it for a reason, and you are called to serve there. So how can we be missionaries? I’ve narrowed my efforts to four categories: pray, invite, pursue, and shine.
Pray (for Opportunities)
Prayer is a key factor and a powerful tool in any missionary endeavor. As Christians, we need to be a people of prayer, and we shouldn’t pray just for ourselves or others, but also for opportunities. If you want to grow where you’re planted, pray for chances to grow. Pray for God to lead you to the right people or conversations.
As we learned in Sunday school, there is power in prayer. Ask your friends and family to pray for you, too. During your lifetime journey, Satan will throw up roadblocks and detours, so you need all the support you can get. The Bible reminds us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, New Living Translation). Prayer is one of the many gifts God has given us to fight off Satan. Prayer is an open line of communication with our Father.
Extend an Invitation
When I was growing up, we had people at our house almost every weekend. Our front door was always open to friends and neighbors. Many people opened their home to Jesus and his disciples. Hosting people in your home is an easy way to break down barriers.
Another approach is inviting people to church for Sunday worship or other events. Some people are just waiting for an invitation. Even if they don’t accept immediately, you’ve planted a seed for the future. Don’t be afraid to invite people to church or to open your home to help cultivate a relationship with those in your community.
Pursue Your Goals
When you actively seek ways to share Christ with others, opportunities will present themselves. If you want to be a missionary in your own community, God will bless your efforts. Pursuing Christ means loving his sheep—the found and the lost. God works in mysterious and unexpected ways. Don’t be afraid to speak with nonbelievers about Jesus. It can be uncomfortable, but it can also be a chance to grow your own faith.
Pursue Christ by studying his Word. Grow your knowledge of the Bible and arm yourself with his story. Pursuing your goals may lead you to an internship or job in a new state or even a new country. If God puts something on your heart, don’t second-guess it. Pray that he will open and close doors for you as you go along.
Let His Spirit Shine
Finally, let your light and the Holy Spirit inside you shine. This suggestion may seem obvious but it can be difficult to follow. Living for Christ is a commitment and a daily lifestyle choice. A college friend used to tell me, “Actions speak louder than words,” but it was a long time before I gave it much thought. I was saying one thing, but my actions were saying something else. At times, it seems like we live in a “double-edged sword” type of world. People are watching what Christians say and do. Some are looking to discredit our faith and point out our mistakes while others are looking for a positive light to follow. Our behavior influences others.
To summarize, God calls us to be different and to stand out. I’ve laid out just four examples of things you and the people you lead can do to pursue being a missionary no matter where you are.
A missionary keeps Christ at the center of their focus no matter their situation, age, or location. We are charged with spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. There are still thousands of unreached people groups all over the world that have never heard the name of Jesus.
Are you doing your part to ensure the entire world hears the good news?
Emily Drayne lives in North Carolina and has served with the International Conference on Missions since 2011.