Our Master’s command ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations’ (Matt. 28:19) may seem such a daunting task to believers, that it can cause us to either stagger back or settle in our minds that it is for the few ‘sent ones’.
God, however, gives each one of His children the privilege to take part in the great task of building His Kingdom. Every believer in Christ has a role to play. Through prayer, we can all reach nations otherwise unreachable; ‘praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints’ (Eph. 6:18).
Apart from prayer, Jesus also wants His body to be like Himself – to actively show His love to a broken world. We live in a global village. Stepping out of your door, can bring you in contact with people from different nationalities. Reaching out to those God has placed in your community, is the first step in fulfilling the task Christ has given us to reach the nations with the good news of salvation. Here are a few practical examples of how to prayerfully reach out to those in your own community.
Set your mind on things above… – Col. 3:2
1. Cultivate your relationship with God
Cultivating your relationship with God when you want to reach out to your community sounds like a strange place to start, but nothing worthwhile is ever possible without it. Spend time with God. Allow Him to change your heart and lay on your heart the things that are on His heart. “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” 1 Chronicles 16:11
2. Seek His Kingdom first
Be Kingdom-minded. Ask God to pour His love for others into your heart. Ask Him what practical things you can do to really make a difference; with real, lasting change. Get others to pray with you to discern God’s plan for reaching out to your community. ‘Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.’ Colossians 3:2
During these difficult times that we live in, many people are in pain and millions are suffering. You and a few friends can go to your nearest hospital/medical centre and pray God’s healing power and blessing over everyone inside – the medical personnel, the sick and their families. Get involved in your local church to pray for those struggling health-wise and financially during this time. And be the answer to your own prayer as God guides you. “Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” Luke 18:1
The Word of God is living and powerful… – Heb.4:12
4. Audio ministries
Consider obtaining a copy of the Bible in audio format – from any local Christian bookstore or the Internet, in one or more languages. Play portions of Scripture in your home, Bible study groups or when on outreach before meetings start. Consider giving away audio Bible portions – the Word of God is active and powerful to perform God’s will! “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
5. Bible correspondence courses
The most effective way of making strong disciples, is to teach them how to use and understand their Bible. Consider buying some Bible correspondence courses for less privileged new believers and leading them in the process of growing in Christ. Many Internet courses are available for free. Do a search on: “Free Bible Courses”. Also contact the Bible Society, website: https://www.biblesociety.co.za/. Get involved in the lives of a few people close to you, whom you can disciple and mentor. “To Timothy, a true son in the faith…” 1 Tim. 1:2
6. Bible distribution
The Bible can be brought to people in simple ways. Contact the Bible Society of South Africa to find out in which languages Bibles are available in South Africa. Always have printed copies of the Bible or New Testaments with you in different languages, no matter where you go. Sometimes someone in a car park will appreciate a Bible to read while waiting on people’s cars! Handing a portion of Scripture to staff at a restaurant or an attendant at a filling station can also have a huge impact. Ask the Lord to show you how, when and where to physically give His Word to people.
Using the power of different media
7. Christian radio
Consider buying small battery operated radios before going on an outreach. Show people where and how to find different Christian radio stations on their radio. Suggest it as a means of discipleship, to grow spiritually and a reason to gather as new believers, especially in areas where illiteracy is a problem or not all people have access to their own Bible.
There are thousands of websites with excellent information on how to reach out to others with the gospel. There is even information on how to bring the gospel to someone from another religion. Some of these are: https://jwipn.com/, https://www.om.org/za/en, https://ywam.org/, https://www.pnxglobal.com/, https://www.opendoors.org.za/ and many others. Visit these websites. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom on how to use some of the information to equip Christian children, youth and cell groups to reach out to those they encounter every day.
9. JESUS Film Project
The JESUS Film is published in different forms – on the internet, on DVD and via the free JESUS Film App. On the JESUS Film Project website (https://www.jesusfilm.org/) there are Jesus-centric videos available in more than 1,800 languages! Some of these are ideally suited to children. A JESUS Film team can be invited to your area to show the film and minister to new believers. Pray and ask the Lord how you can reach out to your community with the gospel, using the JESUS Film. (For more information contact: Campus Crusade for Christ, website: https://cccsa.org.za/).
10. Christian literature
Always have some tracts with you. You can usually buy them per kilogram from a local printer e.g., Evangelical Mission Press. (Website: www.themissionpress.co.za). It is wonderful to be able to give someone Christian literature after you have led them to Christ. In this way they can become evangelists themselves by giving information to other new believers or non-believers. There are many testimonies of people who came to Christ after they unexpectedly received a gospel tract.
Blessed to be a blessing
11. Blessing women
Women play an enormous role in every community. In many cases women raise children by themselves, especially in poor areas. Ask the Lord to give you ideas on how to bless women in your own and other communities on a long-term basis. Take time to pray with women whom you have never prayed with before, be it at work, school, etc. Bless the women who work in your home, business etc. Alternatively, start a small school for ladies to teach them to read and write, or any other life skills that could benefit them. “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5
12. Children’s ministry
Approximately 4 billion children will have been born between 2000-2025, of which 90% in the developing world. Do you know the condition of the children’s ministry in your church? Find out in which way you can be of help, even by doing the simplest and most practical things! (Petra College for children’s ministry, website: https://www.petra.co.za/). But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
13. Development projects
Do you know the different development projects your church is involved in? Find out what they are doing, and become involved in practical ways like supplying transport, helping with strategy, etc. By just interacting with others, you can learn so much about the hindrances in reaching people with the gospel. This brings much food for thought and prayer, challenging us to make a difference.
14. Medical mission work
Volunteering your skills as a trainee to help in local clinics, is a way to become involved in your local community. Training courses are usually free or can be done at a very low cost. In this way you can start helping others or even become involved in training people. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom, what to do and where to become involved.
15. Relief and development
You can become involved in Christian ministry for the relief of, for example, those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Ask the Lord how you can become involved. First consider becoming a volunteer at an existing ministry and learn how to effectively reach your community. (Beautiful Gate Ministries cares for orphans of HIV/AIDS. Contact them on their website: http://www.beautifulgatesouthafrica.org/
16. Student ministries
Contact a university/college or tertiary institution near you. Find out what is happening on campus concerning evangelism. Ask God to show you how to become involved with these young people. (Campus Crusade for Christ, https://cccsa.org.za/)
May it count for eternity
May we be worthy hands and feet of Jesus in a dark, pain-stricken and confused world; may He bless the work of our hands and may it count for eternity!