Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19,20
It is God’s desire that people of all nations get to know Him. That’s why Jesus sent his disciples out. He didn’t just say ‘go and preach’; He told them to make disciples! So, what’s the difference then? I think the difference is the amount of time we invest in someone.
I’ve worked as a long-term missionary, but before that, I made short-term mission trips. I traveled to Eastern Europe as an 18-year old for the summer, doing street evangelism and feeding the poor. I thought my testimony would change those kids’ lives. Later I realized, that by sharing a testimony I was for sure planting a seed, but the long-term missionaries and the locals were the ones preparing the soil and watering the seeds, doing the hard work. They invested a lot of time in the people there.
When I later moved to Ukraine, I learned that discipleship means spending time with a person, hearing their story, praying for them, and teaching them not only with words but by being a living example. Also, one of the best skills you can teach someone is how to understand and study the bible.
I’ve worked with different short-term teams, and the most effective ones were those who didn’t come with their own agenda but supported us in the work we were doing. For example, we worked all year with orphans, but in the summer, we did a camp and could not have done it without the help of a group of young people that came on a mission trip. They brought a lot of love and joy to the kids, and their testimonies did make an impact on them. I believe it made an impact because we had already built relationships with them, prayed for them regularly and were there for them when they went back to normal life.
Opportunities to share God’s love
We’re not all called to go on mission trips, but there are opportunities to share God’s love around us every day. I want to challenge you to invest time in at least three people, get to know them and their needs, pray for them, and share your testimony as the Holy Spirit leads. And if you have one of those ‘divine appointments’ on the plane or in a park and you feel led to share with someone you’ve never met before, please do not hesitate. But also, encourage them to connect with a church or pray that God will bring other people on their path.
Yesterday a 12-year old kid got baptized in our church. He shared a beautiful testimony, so genuine. His father is one of the elders so he had the privilege to baptize his son. I know his mom well, and she spends a lot of time with her son, explaining the bible to him and answering his questions. It reminded me of the important role we have as parents. So, to all moms (and dads, aunties, grandma’s, etc.) out there; you might not travel the world to preach the gospel, but you have a very important task teaching your child the word of God and being a living example!
Read also: The treasure within