How can we lead effectively among the people in our neighborhoods and cities? Hugh Halter offers three ideas for embracing a mission mindset as we share and live the gospel with those around us.
1. Put on the mind of Christ.
Jesus spent time with people because he assessed their hearts. He saw people from a point of view that was without concern for their outward behavior. He viewed them in light of his plan and possibility of redemption. No person, regardless of sin, was beyond a total life transformation. And because he saw them differently, they saw him differently.
When you take on the mind of Christ for every person you come in contact with, they will sense your love for them. With every person you meet, let your first thought be, “God, what do you think of this person?” This question is the most important one you will ask as God pulls you along in his mission.
2. Take life minute by minute.
Jesus lived 33 years but only “worked” for God the Father three years. In that short time, he was able to pour enough into a few men and women, so that they were able to carry out a movement that reached the entire world. This only happened because Jesus wasted no time. He didn’t try to change the whole universe. He poured his life into just a few people, and for those few, three years was plenty of time.
None of us feel like we’re so tapped in to the Father that we can be as efficient as Jesus was, but we can certainly learn that slow is fast, small is big, and reliance upon the Spirit is more fruitful than thrashing about in torrid ministry ventures, unhealthy exuberance and immature attempts to reach out.
Let us learn today to slow down and ask the Father to show us what he is doing. And when he does, let’s also ask him for wisdom to know how to respond before we jump off the boat and drown in fleshly exploits.
3. Learn to exercise holy constraint.
For most people, the biggest spiritual struggle is that of waiting on God. Because we cannot see what’s around the corner, we strive and struggle to make things happen in the temporal world even though we know that God works on another timetable called eternity.
Paul learned to stop beating the air with faithless prayers and penned these words, “I’ve learned to be content …” (Phil. 4:11). It is a rare man or woman who trusts the legacy of their lives to God. Just like John the Baptist prayed that he would become less so that God would become more, we should only strive toward this one goal: to be used by God in his timing and in his way. We might not get to see very much of God’s legacy in our lives, but we will get to see some—and that is worth everything.
Hugh Halter is the U.S. director of Forge America, an apprenticing community committed to training men and women to live as missionaries where they already are. He is the author of a number of books, most recently Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth and Brimstone: The Art and Act of Holy Nonjudgment. For more information: HughHalter.com