Obediently! This is Jesus’ command to His church. We are his disciples. The only faithful response to God’s command is obedience. God has called every believer and every local body of believers to participate with Him in His mission in the world. The decision is not “whether” a believer should share the Gospel with his neighbor, but “when” and “how.”
Intentionally! The Gospel does not go forth accidentally. It requires preparation and deliberate action. Jesus described a strategic engagement with a lost world and taught (and modeled!) the means for that engagement. In a local body of believers, the call to be intentional can be strengthened by the teaching of accountability in a manner that invites believers to walk together and spur one another to be intentional about the Gospel in their daily lives.
Contextually! Context is the who, what, and where that resources the when and the how of our response to Jesus’ command. The beauty of God’s call is that it is to every believer and every local body of believers – not just the ones with sufficient resources, particular gifts, or even adequate preparation! His expectation is that we would be His witnesses in our current circumstances, no matter how unlikely that may seem to us.
Relentlessly! Being His witnesses is a continual command that is core to our identity as followers of Jesus. As such, this command renders every second a moment for the Gospel to go forth. My entire life is to have a Gospel focus. This is an assignment that only ends when we hear Jesus tell us “Well done.”
Joyfully! This Gospel is the Good News. Certainly, this good news can bring joy to the one who receives it, but it is also brings joy to the one who bears it. “We get to” is the slogan of a mission church in New England that continually celebrates the privilege of being those who bear the Good News to their neighbors. Being His witness is an invitation to be at work with the Sower in His field! What could incite more joy than to know that we are at work with Jesus!
Take the field as Jesus described it and pair it with the description of the missionary endeavors of the local church as described in the book of Acts and you will see a myriad of strategic paths to Gospel engagement! You will see a vision of every believer and every church on mission with God in the world. You will see a God who values all manner of giftedness for Gospel advance. Then I challenge you to choose how you will engage with this call of God through strategic planning and partnership. And finally, I challenge you to take the true step of obedience and go.
Keith Ivey serves North Georgia as the Mission and Planting Consultant with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. www.gabaptist.org/churchstrengthening Contact him to help your church plan your Acts 1:8 endeavors. email@example.com.