by Richie Sparling, Outreach Coordinator
Imagine you worked for a ministry and someone handed you the reigns of "outreach" and asked you to design and lead what that looks like in the community(ies) in which the ministry serves. What questions would you ask to start the ball rolling? How would you distinguish and target the various groups of people living in that community? What programs would you establish to meet the needs of the various people groups? How would you define spiritual formation? What would your vision statement be like?
None of these questions have simple answers. Yet, is this not exactly the call Christ gave to each christian when he said in Matthew 28 "Go, into all the world and MAKE disciples of all nations"? Perhaps many of you reading this passage before focused on the "GO". However the real emphasis in this sentence is on the word "MAKE". In fact the "GO" is an assumed "go" probably better interpreted as: "while you are going". In other words, this great command is not meant only for missionaries and preachers who leave their home to go to another area of the world, but for all men and women who are called by His name to follow in His footsteps and make disciples.
So how are you answering this call in your life; in the community in which you live? We are asking some of these same questions as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ here on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. What process does someone go through in order to become a mature believer? Well, first they need exposure to the gospel. Then they need an invitation to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Once they have committed their life to Christ they need encouragement, teaching from God's word, involvement in a local church for continued growth, and perseverance. Then, Lord willing, they themselves will become a disciple-maker leading others to a knowledge of the saving grace that is found only in Christ.
This is no easy process. There are snares and pitfalls along the way. There is a powerful enemy who desires to distract and destroy. BUT, we have a powerful God through whom all things are possible. Even the worst of sinners can find forgiveness for their sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. We know that we are not alone in this journey and when the job of making disciples seems too overwhelming, we can turn to the One who does the REAL work knowing that our struggle is not in vain because we serve a mighty and wonderful God.
Pray for God's work to be done here on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, and pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the fields because there is much work to do! Then answer the call for yourself, in your neighborhood, at your place of work, and even in your own home.