My family, myself, Nate Miller and his wife have started a mission work out in Huron, South Dakota. We had no idea that after two years at Bear Valley Bible Institute, we would be headed to the Northern Plains. Immediately, we started to brainstorm ideas of how we could help that area of the country. The mission started to seem a little more than what we could handle. The workload we were creating for ourselves appeared to be piling up on the paper. We wanted to help this part of the state, and we wanted to get involved with the Native American reservations, and then we wanted to try and develop a presence on the big universities in the state. Great ideas were being thrown around left and right, but we did not have a focus. Finally, we concluded we should model our mission after Christ’s commission to His apostles in Acts 1:8.
Jesus right before His ascension issues a great commission of how He wants his apostles to compartmentalize spreading the gospel. He tells them He wants them to His witness first in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the local city where the apostles would receive the power from the Holy Spirit. They were to evangelize that town first. They were then to move on to all of Judea. Judea is the region where Jerusalem is located. After Judea, they were to go into Samaria and spread the gospel there. Finally, they were to go into the entire world and be witnesses of Jesus. Jesus wanted His messengers to start in a local city and then make their way to going to all the ends of the earth.
Now when I apply this model to the work in Huron, I can see a clear focused vision. Our first goal should be to evangelize the town and then move into the region we are in, such as the southeastern part of the state. When those two have had seed scattered throughout, we can then move on to the central and western parts of the state. Finally, when we have a load of gospel seeds spread through the state, we can think about going into North Dakota. It sounds like a lot of work, but if we focus our efforts on our hometown first and take one chunk at a time, we can accomplish the mission we have set out to do.
The same message can be applied to any church. Our first goal should be to evangelize the town the church is located in. When that has been accomplished, and the town is saturated with the gospel, the church can start helping the surrounding towns and then on to the state. Remember, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Make sure to compartmentalize your mission and use the model that Jesus gave us in Acts 1:8.
- Matt Jones