The new year is often a time when we re-evaluate priorities and set goals as we reflect back on the previous year. In light of this, it is a healthy time for us to reorient our life for the purpose of mission. So to this end, here are five rhythms you can adopt in your life this year to help you be more proactive in living missionally. They follow the acronym BLESS.
1. BE IN PRAYER FOR FRIENDS WHO DON’T FOLLOW JESUS.
Make a list! Put it in your car, on the mirror in your bathroom, on your nightstand, somewhere you will see it every day and then commit to pray that the eyes of these individuals would be opened to the truth of who Jesus is. Pray for opportunities to build deeper relationships with your friends who are far from Jesus. Pray for open doors to serve and to show the love of Christ to them in practical ways. Pray for conversations that naturally lead to discussions about spiritual things.
Salvation is a spiritual work and we need to ask the Lord of the harvest to help us by softening hearts to the gospel through prayer!
2. LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS WHO DON’T KNOW JESUS
Learn to ask great questions and then listen attentively to the answers others have about what makes them tick. Seek to understand their story and listen for threads of how God is working in their lives even though they may not know it. Listen to the deepest longings and desires of their hearts. Listen to any practical needs they may have and seek to meet them (more on this in a moment). It might be as simple as listening and remembering their names!remembering someone’s name is such a wonderful way to show that you care.
The old axiom is true, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
3. EAT REGULARLY WITH NON-CHRISTIANS
Prioritize at least one meal a week where you can sit down and enjoy food with those who don’t follow Jesus. Use this as an opportunity to listen (see above) and continue to cultivate a relationship with your friend. Most of us already sit down to eat 21 times a week… can you commit to give 1-2 of these meals over to God for the purpose of mission this year? The table has a way of breaking down barriers and building relationships, let’s utilize that for the kingdom’s sake!
Remember, Jesus was accused of being “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” because he ate with them (Matthew 11:19)!
4. SERVE THOSE FAR FROM JESUS
Now that you’ve been praying, listening, and building a relationship over the table with your friends who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can begin to show the love of Christ in practical ways. Words of affirmation, encouraging notes, works of service, and meeting practical or even financial needs can all be powerful demonstrations of the love of Christ in you. We need to be proactive in looking for ways to serve others, especially those far from Jesus! The big question this behavior brings is “why would you do that?” This creates a powerful bridge to the fifth missional rhythm we should embody this year…
5. STORY: SHARE YOURS, SHARE HIS
Our greatest privilege of all. Share your story about how God has given you new life. How has Jesus changed your life? Your perspective? Your purpose? Share that story! And then share the greatest story of all time: the gospel of Jesus Christ. Share the whole thing. Creation – Fall – Redemption – Consummation (Spoiler Alert: God’s Word tells us how the story is going to end!). Prayerfully look for opportunities to share all or portions of your story and God’s working in it and His story, how through the work of Jesus on the cross “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
In our culture, everyone loves stories. Why not share the greatest story of all time with our non-believing friends?
So there it is: 5 ways to live missionally this year. Can you imagine the impact if every student who follows Jesus in your school or on your campus made these rhythms a reality this year?! Let’s make 2019 a missional year… go BLESS someone!
Be in Prayer
***This blog post was first published at www.missionalstudent.com by Pastor Phil Leineweber and his re-published here with his permission.
Pastor Phil is the Pastor of SURGE Student Ministries at Berean Baptist Church. He is married to his lovely wife, Sarah, and they together enjoy raising their three little boys.