Go on a Mission Right Here, Right Now
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2011 12 Oct
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Alan Hirsch & Lance Ford's book, Right Here, Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People, (Baker Books, 2011).
Want to join God in His redemptive work in the world? You don’t have to get special training and travel to a foreign country as a missionary to do so. God has a mission for you right now, right where you are – in your neighborhood, workplace, school, and wherever else you go every day. Your work sharing your faith and helping others is just as important as the work that vocational missionaries do. So be alert to the many opportunities God gives you to reach people who need Him.
Here’s how you can go on a mission right here and now:
Remember who you represent. As a Christian, you represent Jesus with every person you encounter, and if you intentionally build relationships with people designed to help them grow spiritually, you can point people to Him in powerful ways.
Pray for perspective. Ask God to give you His perspective on the world immediately around you and the people within your sphere of influence. Realize that God has sent you as a missionary to everyone you interact with, right where you live. Every day, wake up with your eyes, mind, and soul wide open to hear what God has to say to you and to notice the opportunities He is giving you to touch people’s lives with His love. Don’t let the enormity of the needs you encounter overwhelm you; remember that God will help you do everything He asks when you rely on His strength to do it.
Pray for compassion. Fight the sinful selfishness that hinders your mission work by keeping you focused just on your own comfort, security, gratification, and convenience. Ask God to give you the compassion that you need to love and serve other people in the ways He calls you to do so. Pray for the ability to recognize God’s image in each person you meet, and remember that you’re serving God by serving others.
Go beyond belief to obedience. Don’t stop at just believing in Jesus; believe what Jesus said about how to live by obeying His guidance and really living that way. Actually pursue the changes that Jesus wants you to make in your life so you can respond well to His callings to love and serve others. Whenever you read the Bible, pray for the Holy Spirit to help you see how you can put those words into action in your life right away. Aim to keep growing in obedience to God.
Move out into the culture around you. Get to know what issues matter to the people around you, and how they’re searching for meaning in their lives. Once you understand what they’re searching for, you can help them make connections between their needs and the fulfillment they can find in a relationship with Jesus. Talk with people that you meet in various places, and ask God to show you what good news would sound like to them. People who go to movies are looking for stories that move them, and Jesus connects them with the big story into which all people’s little stories play a part: the story of God’s redemptive work in the world. People who go to sports events are looking for a cause to belong to, and Jesus offers them a cause that can really change the world for the better. Rather than trying to get people to come to you to talk about faith, go to where they are and engage them in conversations about faith as you build friendships with them. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s to guide your conversations and work in their souls to draw them closer to Jesus.
Be the change you’d like to see. Challenge the destructive forces in your culture by intentionally living contrary to them so you can show the people around you the difference that Jesus can make in their lives. You can counter materialism by living simply and giving generously to others. You can counter the culture’s unhealthy emphasis on social status and image by building friendships with people that others neglect, such as disabled people and poor people. You can counter the judgment that sexually immoral people often encounter from Christians (which distances them from the faith they need to change their lives) by relating to them with love rather than fear and hostility, while modeling a sexually pure lifestyle to them.
Be kind to people. Speak kind words and do kind actions for other people as frequently as you can – even when they’re being unkind to you. Keep in mind that even a simple smile can powerfully encourage people. Your kindness will help others notice the difference that Jesus can make in their lives.
Be a peacemaker. Defuse tense situations by interacting with people peacefully and helping to solve problems. When peace distinguishes you as a person and people know that you’re a Christian, they’ll be drawn to Jesus.
Develop a missional lifestyle. Change your focus in life from consumption to contribution. Concern yourself less with what you can get and more with what you can give, to make the world a better place. Manage your money and possessions in ways that will free you up to do the mission work God calls you to do. Pay off debts and avoid incurring new debts so you can give more money to your church and charities rather than wasting it on interest payments. If you have extra space in your home, use it by inviting people in need of housing to live with you, or move to a smaller home so you won’t have to spend as much time, energy, and money maintaining your home and can use those resources for mission work instead. If you have an extra car, make it available to people who need help with transportation, or sell it to save money that you can then donate to support God’s kingdom work. Manage your time in ways that help you invest in other people’s lives. Arrange your work schedule so you’ll have time to spend regularly building new friendships with people. Shop in the same stores and eat in the same restaurants regularly so you can get to know the people there and talk with them often. Invite people like students, elderly neighbors, and single moms and their kids to enjoy meals with you at your home. Meet with other Christians committed to living missional lifestyles, and encourage each other as you pursue reaching people for Jesus right here and now.
Adapted from Right Here, Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People, copyright 2011 by Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com.
Alan Hirsch is founding director of Forge Mission Training Network and cofounder of Shapevine.com, an international forum for engaging with world-transforming ideas. Currently he leads an innovative learning program called Future Travelers which helps megachurches become missional movements. He is the author of numerous books, including The Forgotten Ways, and coauthor of Untamed. Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area.
Lance Ford is the cofounder and director of Shapevine.com (www.shapevine.com), and the former director of the Northwood Church Multiplication Center. With more than 20 years of experience as a pastor and church planter, Lance is a writer, coach, consultant, and an adjunct professor. Ford and his wife live in Kansas City, Missouri.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at:[email protected]to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: October 12, 2011