As we prepare for another Missions Conference here at North Life, I am convinced that we need less novel messages and techniques in our ministry and more of a Holy Ghost sent renewal of passion/commitment to the Great Commission that has never changed and is still in full effect. It is striking to me that Jesus, on the heels of the Resurrection, says the following to His hard-hearted disciples in Mark 16:14-15: “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Like the first generation of disciples, we are prone to letting the good news of Jesus leak out of our hearts and lips somewhere between experiencing personally His resurrection power (14) and the entrance into eternity with the ascended Savior (15, 19).

Lest you think I am just picking on you, this survey result from Thom Rainer and Church Answers truly challenged me as a pastor, “In one study we asked senior or lead pastors how many times they had intentionally shared their faith with someone, or just developed a relationship with a non-Christian with the hope of sharing the good news. In this survey where anonymity was protected, over half of the pastors, 53% to be precise, said ‘zero’ in the previous six months. You read that correctly. The majority of pastors weren’t evangelizing.” God, help me, my family, and our church to be the exception to this stat!!!

The question is how do we experience a personal revival in how we steward the most compelling, eternity-altering message ever given to mankind. Here are a few practical steps that I believe will help we who are Jesus’ followers to return to His primarily assigned and glorifying task:

Pray for laborers to reach the lost.

Lu 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.”

EVERY faithful servant of the Lord should be constantly praying that He will send out laborers into His harvest field (v. 2). The need is always greater than the supply of workers. In praying for laborers, we must be willing to go ourselves-notice pray (v. 2), go (v. 3). For example in India in 1903, prayer bands of orphan girls and widows began praying by name for lost people. They reasoned, if Hindus recite thousands of names in their mantras, “why should we not, as Christians, be able to pray for many hundreds of people by name.” Unfortunately for far too many post-modern believers, this first step is functionally a non-starter because they given token nods towards prayer but honestly don’t pray at all let alone pray for the lost.

Personally invest time and energy into being good/doing good, as an instrument of a gracious God, towards the lost souls directly around us.

Ro 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

What if I told you that the greatest hindrance to the gospel is not the reluctance of the lost to listen or even repent in light of the gospel but…our reluctance to be inconvenienced in any way for the lost? Jesus’ influence and impact were not just the result of His words but His going “about doing good” and His early followers who followed suit (Ac. 10:38). Another question. How can we expect the world to believe in a God we claim loves them if they don’t see in us a church that even likes them. Like them enough to be good to them even when it costs us our time or resources.

Invest, by sacrificial faith, prayer and financial support into world-wide missions through your local church.

2 Co 9:5-8 “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.  But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

Note all the plural pronouns indicating a corporate, collaborative commitment! To reach critical mass in our evangelistic efforts, we cannot go at it alone or with an a la carte mindset. In Matthew’s account of the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20), Christ clearly gives the steps necessary to accomplish it…all disciplines empowered by (“teaching”) and implemented (“baptizing”) in the context of the local church! God’s commands always assume His enabling (“all power”)…commands including getting the gospel to every creature on the planet. Despite how you feel and the deluge of excuses floating around in Christian circles, it is fully possible to reach our entire generation with the Gospel of Jesus!!!! Someone recently posted online: “The stat that always blows my mind is if one person (1) leads one person to Jesus this year and teaches them how to lead someone else to Jesus (2) and then the next year they both (3) lead someone to Jesus and teach them how to evangelize (4) and the process continues like that every year, the entire known world (8,000,000,000) would come to know Jesus in just 33 years.” To start with, when your church has a missions conference or evangelistic emphasis of any kind, show up and go all in! As Nathan Adkin puts it, “If you are going to be about the Great Commission, you are going to be about the local church.”

Be willing to allow your own children/grandchildren to be the “human resources” God uses to verbalize the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Ps 127:3-5 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

This last commitment is especially rare to see in our day but absolutely necessary. If not our kids, then whose? (Every evangelist, church planter, and foreign missionary is SOMEBODY’S KID!) Bradly Bell, in recent post regarding the above verses, states the following about becoming a “sending parent”:

Here we see no defensive posture. The analogy is quite the opposite. To be a warrior with a quiver full of arrows is a picture of confidence. The Lord has boldly blessed parents. He has taken the initiative by sending them children. Therefore, they can be just as bold. After all, what’s a stockpile of arrows kept in the quiver? Yet that’s precisely what parents often desire when it comes to God’s global mission. Having a child grow up and move far away—let alone to the Middle East—is a fearful thought. Indeed, it should be if we love our children! We don’t want them to miss Christmas. We have no desire to part with grandchildren. We cringe at the thought of their return in a casket. But perhaps our love is not too strong but too weak.

Here is a picture posted by Jason Holt, a high-impact missionary in Santiago, Chile, that I just had the privilege to visit earlier this year with my son Landon who was deeply stirred by the needs and opportunities of the 5.6 million plus city (Main photo in post from this trip)…He included the following caption that should deeply challenge every Christian parent/grandparent: “I’m still getting used to seeing our new gospel-motivated geography when I open ‘find my’ on my cell phone. We are excited that Katie (daughter currently on missions internship in Africa) is getting this opportunity to learn, grow, and serve!”

Oh for more families, individuals, and churches like the Holts! Revival here and now matters. It matters not just in our immediate context and generation but also in the ripple effects for generations to come and around the world. As J. Edwin Orr reminds us, “Every revival of religion in the homeland is felt within a decade in the foreign mission field.”