Each and every follower of Jesus is called to be on mission. Mission isn’t just for a few of us, for the elite, or for the uniquely gifted. God’s people are called to be people who go, crossing every boundary and barrier to share the Good News of the kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples before His ascension echo this truth: “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15, NLT).
So, if we are called to be on mission, what are we supposed to do about 2020? What does mission look like in a world of stay-at-home orders and quarantine? Is it even possible to live on mission in the midst of the pandemic?
This year I suspect that, like me, you have gone fewer places than ever before. Trips, conferences and summer missions trips have been cancelled, and at times it may even feel like the mission of God has been postponed indefinitely. The good news is, that is not true. The mission of God is not on hold. Amid all the disruption to our normal paradigms of going, Jesus is inviting us to reconsider what it means to be on mission with Him.
Life on mission isn’t dependent on plane tickets, passports or large gatherings of people; rather, the only requirement is my daily obedience to listen to the Holy Spirit’s invitation to go and join what He is doing right where I am, in my town, in my neighborhood, even in my apartment building. We may not be on the move, but God is. He is moving in you, your neighbor, your community and around the world—and He still invites us to go and join what He is doing!
Sounds good, right? The question is, what do we actually do to join Him on mission in the midst of our stay-at-home reality? In case you are feeling a bit stuck, here are a few simple ideas of how to join God on mission in the midst of a pandemic.
Be a good neighbor
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but before the pandemic, I really wasn’t a good neighbor. I didn’t throw loud parties or complain about petty things, but the truth is, I simply didn’t pay attention to my neighbors.
This year, this interruption, offers us the opportunity to go outside, talk to our neighbors, run errands for them and invite them to eat with us (while adhering to local safety and distancing guidelines). And, as we seek their well-being in practical ways, we might even discover that God has already sent the nations to us.
Go to the overlooked and under-resourced in your community
Difficult times always impact the vulnerable disproportionately, and this pandemic is no different. Parents are having to choose between going to work and caring for their children. Newly arrived immigrants are suddenly finding themselves expected to manage distance learning for their children. International students have had to choose between completing their education or seeing their families. Many seniors are living in profound and extended isolation.
Life on mission isn’t dependent on plane tickets, passports or large gatherings of people; rather, the only requirement is my daily obedience to listen to the Holy Spirit’s invitation to go and join what He is doing right where I am.
What would it look like if we decided that our missions trips actually didn’t get cancelled, but instead, we simply got reassigned to our own communities? I think it would look something like offering tutoring and education support for distance learning, homecooked meals for international students, grocery delivery for seniors and extra support to the local food pantry. Who is God calling you to go and serve right in your own community?
Give encouragement and resources
As part of The Foursquare Church, we are privileged to be connected to people who are on mission all around the globe. Foursquare Missions International (FMI) workers are strategically placed in nations and contexts we can’t currently visit. Although this year we can’t take our missions teams to work alongside them, we can still partner with them.
Many of these workers are facing new challenges, including isolation and desperate need in the countries where they serve. Reach out to an FMI worker—encourage and pray for them. Give financially, empowering them be the hands and feet of Jesus in the place where they serve. Distance can’t keep us from being part of the mission!
Jesus said: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt. 6:34, MSG). The mission of God is not cancelled; it’s not even on hold. God is calling us to pay attention and join what He’s doing. Let’s go!