Bright Lights — How Foreign Missions Has Affected My Mission At Home
By: Dustin Walker
After traveling to South Asia recently for the fourth time, I’ve come to accept and expect some things:
- Airplane meals are just glorified microwaveable meals… and I eat them regardless.
- Long flights make my feet swell.
- Seeing the gospel at work in another culture always affects my perspective at home.
Don’t worry I’m not going to spend time unpacking the first two things. They pretty much speak for themselves.
How have these things affected my perspective here at home? In the past, our short-term trips to South Asia, Peru, and Portland have shaped and influenced my understanding of cross-cultural ministry, social justice, and especially the area of discipleship.
For example, our journey toward starting D Groups started out of reflections from our initial trips to South Asia and understanding what 2 Timothy 2:2 means for our context.
[BTW, if you’d like to better understand the context of this latest trip and our partnership in South Asia in general then I’d encourage you to read this month’s mission newsletter. Sign up today so you can receive a monthly update and stay prayerfully engaged with what is happening in our mission partnerships.]
So what have I learned from this last trip that might apply to us here in Murfreesboro? I think it is best summarized this quote from missionary CT Studd: “The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home.”
And here’s what that should mean to you and me. As we see how the gospel is working through our church to reach the nations we should desire an even greater gospel work here in our own community.
Perhaps we should follow our July Fighter Verse (1 Cor. 11:1) and follow the example of our brothers and sisters in South Asia as they obediently take the gospel to hard places around them. Men and women have committed themselves to share about Jesus and inviting them to respond by following him. And people have!! God is so faithful to his word. He will build his church (Matthew 16:18)!
Here are ways that we can imitate our brothers and sisters in South Asia and become a brighter light here at home.
Pray and Prepare
City Church will you begin to pray and prepare to see where God has placed you to share the gospel? Your family, neighborhood, work environment, and a network of relationships are your field. Will you begin to pray that God would go before you as you commit to sharing the good news about Jesus to the people in your path?
Share the Gospel
The next step involves actually sharing the gospel, not just thinking about, praying about, or hoping to share the gospel. What I’m talking about is actually inviting people into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ with your words. You can share your story as well as Christ’s story. We even have a resource for you to learn more about how to do that. But these are ways not just to share facts but to invite people to follow Jesus.
Discipleship involves a lot of things. Once people have responded to the gospel and followed Christ, we must help them to grow in their faith. This comes from reading scripture and prayer. It involves confession and repentance while remembering the gospel. It also consists of walking through suffering. Following Jesus means learning and imitating Christ in every area of our lives. And we do this together with the help of one another.
Gather Together and Form Healthy Churches
Healthy evangelism and discipleship also attach themselves to God’s people, the church. And as Christians, the church becomes our spiritual family. The church, though made up of imperfect sinners redeemed by God’s grace, is God’s “Plan A” for declaring his glory to the world (Eph. 3:10). And we must commit ourselves not just to a person (to Jesus) but also to a people (the church) to healthily grow in faith.
Send Out Men and Women to Continue This Gospel Task
Until Christ returns, we must seek to finish the task of repeating this process over and over in the joy and power of God’s Spirit. What a privilege! What an opportunity! Perhaps you go to another neighbor, classmate, city, or even country. But the task is not complete until Jesus returns.
I can tell you that we are seeing the light of the gospel shining far through our City Church mission partnerships. Here’s my question to you: Will you be a person from City Church to make the gospel shine brightly here in Murfreesboro?