How to Find Your Mission Field

by Andy Wood on November 20, 2014

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Legacy, Words

Multi-ethnic Group

I once heard someone say that every Christ follower is a missionary or a mission field.  And when you cease to become a missionary – that is, a functioning ambassador for Christ – you become someone else’s mission field.  Whether that’s true or not, one thing is certain: every believer has been given the mandate to impact other lives positively for a living Christ and His gospel.

Yes, that means you, even though you most likely don’t consider yourself a missionary in the classic sense of the word.  But I want to remind you that you quite likely stand on the spiritual shoulders of a first-century Apostle who had this to say:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

This man dedicated his life to sharing a message of hope, grace and forgiveness for one purpose:  winning.  But not winning in the sense of producing a gaggle of losers in his wake.  No, he said winning meant that those who heard his message became fellow partakers of the good news.  That meant an ongoing relationship.  And when you read the letters Paul wrote, you see that he did that very thing… he kept “partaking” in the gospel with them… showing them its implications, giving and receiving its encouragements.

So what about you?  Who are the potential “fellow partakers” in your world?  Who are the people you are uniquely positioned to influence?

Before you give me that “aw shucks” kick in the dirt or your eyes glass over, let me show you three ways to answer that question.  Answer these three questions and you’ll find three fields of influence in your life:

1.  Who will be crying at your funeral?

Let’s start close to home – something that visionaries and aspiring world changers often fail to do.  Sometimes in our ambitions to change the world we ignore our own children, partners, or grandchildren.  Or we ignore the every-day people that are so much a part of our lives – friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

We humans are meant to be social creatures, with or without social media. But it’s a crying shame that you can share football news or recipes with people on a daily basis, or that you can work next to somebody for decades, and not ever get around to sharing the hope that is in you.

So… who are the people who share life on some level with you?  That’s your mission field.

What?  They’re already believers?  Great.  That doesn’t change the fact that you are a fellow partaker of the gospel with them.  So what does that look like?  Fellowship, in the deepest sense of the word?  Encouragement?  Teaching?  Accountability?  Wisdom?  Motivation?  Sure, talk about your other shared interests.  But love them with a love only made possible by the grace of God as shown in the resurrection and death of His Son.

2. Who is likely to look to you as the greatest Christian they know?

Don’t you try to shrug this one off! Who asks you theological or Bible questions?  Who thanks you for being an encourager?   Who acts as though they respect you greatly?  Who tries to argue with you about points of Christianity they disagree with or disapprove of?  Who calls you when they’re in a crisis or asks you for advice?  Who makes a point to poke fun at you by calling you a “holy roller” or some other derogatory name?

All these and more are expressions of confidence in your faith.  Even the arguments pointed at you are tacit expressions of respect on some level.  And that raises a very important point about your influence – very little of it is actually spoken.  Most of your influence is lived out in front of people as an example.

3. If you were going to heaven today, who would you most desperately want to take with you?

Move this beyond your own children or immediate family.  The first question should have covered them.  Does someone else come to mind?  If you’ve lived long enough, you have probably seen the answer to this question evolve over time.  That’s normal.

Frankly, there are times when we don’t have a ready answer to that question. That tells me two things:  First, you aren’t ready to go to heaven today yourself. That doesn’t mean you are not saved, but that you have some issues with God that need to be worked out. Second,  you’ve become a self-absorbed consumer with a faith that was meant to be shared as good news.

You’re welcome.

Now back to the question.  Whose plight have you recently discovered? Who have you lately been concerned about?  What culture, people group, club, or individual comes to mind when you confront that question.

 

As these things go, I’m sure there are other diagnostic questions that can point you in the right direction.  But the main thing in all this to remember is that you don’t live on an isolated island.  Your life has influence and your faith was made for sharing.  My challenge to you:  list the names or faces that come to mind when you honestly ask those questions, whether they’re believers or not.  Then begin praying for those individuals or groups.  Ask the Lord to show them and you what it means to be fellow partakers of the gospel.  And for God’s sake (literally), when you find your mission field, invest your life in it, regardless of what you do for a living.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

terri engdahl November 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm

thank you for this post! it was very needful.
it seems to me that mission and ministry go hand in hand, and that mission work is participating in the Work of the Father to bring us all Home. i think that mission work (and ministry) is “reaping that for which you have not labored” (Jn 4:38). already, Jesus has accomplished the Father’s Work of reconciling us to Himself. “The harvest is plentiful, but laborers are few” (Matt 9:37). therefore, mission is harvesting, and the Spirit guides the laborers to the appointed fields or to the wee copse of bushes ripe and waiting.

Abah Emmanuel March 18, 2017 at 12:16 am

Thanks for inspiring me to identify my mission field. May God through the Holy Spirit help us in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

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