Mission drove Jesus. His unquenchable heart to reach people pulsed from the core of His being and emanated through His words and actions. He allowed people to get a taste of what He could do and then He would leave them wanting more. He moved on because of His mission.
One place this is evident is in Mark 1:35-39. Just prior to this passage, Jesus healed all who were brought to him, and the “whole town” gathered around. Early in the morning, Jesus snuck away to be alone and to pray. The disciples searched for him, and on finally finding him, they declare, “Everyone is looking for you!” To my surprise and disbelief, Jesus leaves. Why would he leave? Mission.
Steve Addison in his book, What Jesus Started, writes, “Jesus withdrew occasionally—to rest, to pray, to be safe, to be with his disciples. Mostly he was on the move, rarely staying in one place for long. He was always moving on to the next settlement, the next crowd, the next person, the next opportunity…Why did Jesus keep moving? He told his disciples this was why he came. He was saying something important about his mission. He had a message, and he was going to keep moving to reach as many people as possible—in every town and every village.”
There were approximately 175 towns and villages in the region of the Galilee that according to Matthew Jesus visited in his three years of ministry. On average, He must have visited more than one town a week, and that doesn’t even include the regions of the Decapolis, Samaria, or Judea (where Bethany, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem were). Jesus was on the move.
Jesus’ mission and vision for the church correlates with His own: to seek and to save the lost, to make disciples who will be His witnesses.
Of the 29,000 people in Ellis County where I live, over 12,000 people claim no religious affiliation, so the harvest is plentiful. At North Oak Church, we are praying through a strategy to get the Gospel message to our community—a community that is less and less Christian.
We are training our people to begin a conversation with two questions:
- How can I pray for you?
- If God could do a miracle in your life, what would you want it to be?
We encourage our people to ask these questions of a neighbor or after striking up a conversation while standing in line. Some answer with “I’m doing fine,” or “I don’t need prayer.” Others will open up for a powerful conversation. Unless they refuse, we go ahead and pray for them.
After we pray, some have decided to share something personal or ask questions to continue the conversation. These questions are also important to ask of people we go to church with, our friends, and our family, because they show that we care.
Jesus said it. Now let’s do it. There is a lot of brokenness in this world and in our lives. Jesus has come to free us from that. Join us in this mission to bring hope and healing in Jesus’ name.
Resources for further exploration
- Three circles website: http://lifeonmissionbook.com/conversation-guide
- Training for Trainers, “John Chin” – Mission/vision/instruction available at: www.t4tonline.org
- Steve Addison podcast. www.movements.net
- More Disciples resources and podcast. www.moredisciples.com
- Learn about your community by visiting www.city-data.com and searching for your city or town.
About the author: Dave Buller is associate pastor at North Oak Community Church in Hays, Kansas. Dave has a passion for making disciples and reaching the lost. He has been in ministry for the last 15 years. Dave and his wife, Emily, have four children.
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