The temptation with sweet friendships is to be shut-off from others or cliquish. Cliques or factions within the church or community are closed groups. It's hard for a stranger to penetrate a faction. (As I am sure you know if you've ever been on the outside of a clique!) Factions can impede any efforts for diversity—for embracing all nations. That is why we, as Christians, need to be intentionally mindful of our surroundings and the opportunities to include others in our lives.

Christ tells us in the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). One simple step to being mission-minded in the context of where you are right now is to simply avoid the temptation to be partial or form factions. Our friendships are wonderful, but in order to make disciples of all nations we must open up our lives to people we don't know. Even people we aren't sure about.

Practically, it may be as simple as choosing to speak to someone unlike you. Maybe it's even taking a step of faith and inviting someone to lunch. God can provide opportunities for mission work without going to a foreign country. There is a mission field available to you right where you are. A diverse and beautiful field. The Lord says the workers are few but the harvest is plentiful (Luke 10:2).

Trillia Newbell is a freelance journalist and writer. She writes on faith and family for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, and serves as the managing editor for Women of God Magazine and Lead Editor of Karis, the Women’s Channel of CBMW. Her love and primary role is that of a wife and mother. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Thern and their two children. You can learn more about her via her site and follow her on twitter: @trillianewbell