A few weeks ago, I suggested to my wife that we might consider selling our house and moving to a different, more convenient community. She was not opposed to the idea, but suggested that now was not the right time. The reason? She has ongoing relationships with several of our neighbors whom she is trying to win to the Lord and “our ministry here is not complete.” Besides giving me joy about the kind of wife I am married to, our conversation got me thinking about whether we are as outward-focused in practice as we are in our beliefs.
As Baptists and evangelicals, we talk much about outreach, evangelism and missions. Does that talk lead us to practical and tangible actions that are intentional and ongoing? I thought I’d do a little self-assessment and jotted down a few questions to see if all my Great Commission talk is just talk, or do I really have an outward focus? Here’s what I came up with:
- Do you pray for lost people by name? Regularly?
- Are you praying for yourself to have regular opportunities to share your faith and the boldness to evangelize when those opportunities come?
- Can you name anyone you are intentionally praying for and seeking to win to Jesus Christ? Can you name several?
- When’s the last time you invited an unbeliever or unchurched person to your SS, small group, worship service, or church event? Do you do so regularly?
- Do you read the church bulletin evangelistically (i.e., with an eye to whom you might reach out through the events and ministries of your church)?
- Do you tithe to your local church? Are you giving over and above your tithe to support missions and other ministries?
- Do you have a budget at home – are you continuously seeking ways to give more generously? Do you give sacrificially?
- Do you plan ahead to save, sacrifice, and give generously to your church’s missions offerings, or do you give whatever you can spare when the time comes?
- Do you know any missionaries by name for whom you regularly pray? Are your receiving prayer newsletters from any field missionaries? When you receive them, do you pray?
- Do you know your neighbors’ names? Do you know their spiritual condition?
- Have you met any of the parents of your children’s friends? Do you know if they know Jesus?
- Do you pray with your children for their unsaved friends and teachers?
- Do you pray with your spouse for your unsaved neighbors, friends, and family members?
- Are there relationships that you avoid because they are too difficult that God would have you pursue so you might be a minister of the gospel?
- Have you ever considered whether God might want you pursue adoption or foster care? Or coming alongside a family who is called to do so?
- Have you prayerfully considered participating in a short term missions trip? or supporting someone else to take such a trip?
- Are you willing to go wherever God leads you? Could God be calling you into full-time ministry or missions service?
- Are you willing to make significant changes in your life to be an “on mission” Christian through your praying, giving, and going?
- If given the opportunity, are you equipped and ready right now to share the gospel message and invite someone to turn in faith to Christ?
- Have you recently shared the gospel message and invited someone to trust Christ? Have you ever?
What questions would you add? What advice would you give to those who want to have a more outward focus?