This article is written by Innovista's International Director Jason Lane and first appeared in Reach Out magazine
Most of the time mission happens as we go about normal life. It's actually not primarily about missionaries or ministers. It's about people like you.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, the bit that's not always clear in English translations is that Jesus said "As you Go, make disciples."
Make disciples as you do normal life. As you raise children. As you live in your community. As you teach pupils, sell cars or build aeroplanes. As you eat and drink with friends. As you do everyday things, make disciples.
In the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, John writes (4:4) that Jesus "had" to go through Samaria.
But he didn't have to.
There was another route that went around Samaria, one that many Jews took to avoid it, perhaps only going through it if they were in a hurry.
But Jesus wasn't in a hurry - John tells us that He stayed here for two days (v.40).
Jesus "had" to go through Samaria because He was doing, as He says later on, the will of His Father. And for Jesus at this point in time, the will of His Father was to go through Samaria and meet a woman who everyone else had no time for.
Mission always requires intention.
It always requires a decision to put others first. It requires making decisions - sometimes very small and very simple decisions - to connect with people so that in time they can be introduced to Jesus.
And the longer we're in the church, the more intentional we need to be.
Because church activities and church people can consume our lives.
There's research that shows the relationship between the amount of time someone has been a Christian and the number of friendships they have with people who are not in the church. What we would expect is that the longer we're Christians, the more like Jesus we become; and as Jesus was all about ‘seeking and saving the lost’, the more relationships we would have with people outside the church. Right?
Wrong. It's the complete reverse.
In fact, on average the longer people are Christians, the fewer friendships they have with people who do not darken the doors of the church. So, more intentionality is clearly required if we’re to really follow Jesus.
When my wife Rachel and I moved into our first apartment, we were excited about the opportunity to get to know our neighbours. But it was harder than we thought.
No one knocked our door. We didn't bump into people in the corridors.
We often saw a couple around our age leaving for work in the morning. We thought that maybe we'd see them around. And we started praying that we'd get an opportunity to bump into them.
But nothing happened until Rachel went down the corridor, knocked on their door and asked them if they'd like to go out for dinner. They were delighted.
That initial decision to knock on the door started a spiritual journey for them that they're still on. That knock started a friendship that has allowed us to share our faith with them, and they've even asked us to share it with their other friends!
It all started with one small step.
Like the step that Lisa, a young leader we train in Siberia, has taken. She is leaving her comfortable family home to move into student digs so that she can better build relationships with those who don't yet know Jesus. Indeed, Lisa's own journey of faith started just last year when she got to know some Christians at a Valentines' Day party that a friend took the small step of inviting her to.
If we're really honest, this is hard for us.
It feels safe within the walls of the church, where we know each other and where we can get really good at talking about mission.
But the adventure of mission requires us to be intentional. (Tweet this)
To knock a door. To spend time with someone. To take a small step.
What step will you take today?