Inspire Yourself First!
A big shout out to Marti Wade of Missions Catalyst for editing the transcript from this video.
Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Missions Catalyst was founded in 1996. Since 2007 it has been a ministry of Pioneers.
If you see yourself as a mission advocate or mobilizer, you may sometimes feel as if people just don’t care about missions. And that all we can do is to really push and try to get them to care.
What about a more positive approach? I like to think of it as trying to inspire people: to help them feel they want to do something and can do it. Of inviting them into the process of finding God’s heart and engaging with it. Inspiring people is something we can do together with God. That idea guides my team in how we think and talk about mission and how we approach mission mobilization.
And perhaps that’s what’s happening in Habakkuk 1:5.
“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
I love that! Watch. Be inspired. God is preparing an amazing harvest. And that includes our days as well. There is so much we can learn right now to be poised and ready for the incredible fruitfulness that’s coming and is even happening right now!
The Ministry of Mobilization
Consider this definition from Wes Tullis:
“Mobilization is the process of envisioning and educating God’s people about his strategic plans for the world, and it is the means to keep people involved and moving forward until they find their specific place and role in world evangelization.”
Mobilization is the process of envisioning and educating God’s people about his strategic plans for the world, and it is the means to keep people involved and moving forward until they find their specific place and role in world evangelization.Wes Tullis
I like this definition because it talks about mobilization as a process. Events are important, but people usually need to hear about something many times and have somebody coach them and mentor them to take the next step, and the next step, and the next step. They keep growing and understanding more and more as they keep taking steps. It’s a process.
And I also love this definition because it says, “find their specific place.” It’s not saying that everybody will be a cross-cultural missionary. God bless those who are called to that. We need them, and so many more. But every believer has a part to play in the Great Commission. We need the whole Church to bring the whole gospel to the whole world!
What Is a Mobilizer?
Mobilizers are those who channel key resources, training, or vision for world evangelization to the Body of Christ. Many people are called to give, go, pray, and welcome the nations that are coming to their cities. But the mobilizer is the leader who’s saying, “Hey, everybody has a part to play. What is your part? I will help you get there, get you training and resources.”
Mobilizers are those who channel key resources, training, or vision for world evangelization to the Body of Christ.
Mobilizers serve people in every other role in the Great Commission, so we want to see a lot more mobilizers. That includes mobilizers in the Global South, the non-Western world, including Asia, Africa, and Latin America. God is transforming places that only received missionaries into places that send missionaries!
First Inspire Yourself
If to mobilize is to inspire, we need to start with ourselves, because people don’t just listen to what we say, they watch our lives. What they catch from you is not just your teaching, it’s your passion. So you need that passion and enthusiasm strong and fresh because that’s what people catch even more than the words you say.
As mobilizers, we need to find ways to stoke the fires in our souls when we run out of passion. Here are a couple of practical ways to do that.
1. Connect With God
God is the source of everything we need. You could be thinking, oh yes, of course, I know this, it’s so basic! But brothers and sisters, we cannot grow beyond this. We cannot leave behind the essential foundational. We need to connect with God as our source of life. God will…
- Re-stoke our fires: If we connect with God, He will be faithful to “re-stoke” our fires. The Bible says very clearly, “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). This comes from spending time with God and waiting on him.
- Give us his perspective: As we connect with God, he will give us his perspective on the Bride of Christ, on the Church. When we are frustrated or disappointed, we can come to Jesus and say, “I know you love your Bride. Can you please give me your perspective on her? Help me love her again.”
- Give us his heart: God loves the lost more than we ever will. As we spend time with God, He will give us some of His heart, like a burden for an unreached people group that is natural and from Him and not just something we work up. There are also so many things we could and should be doing in missions. He can give us wisdom as to the next step we should take.
- Remind us who we are: God will remind us of our identity in Jesus, which is so much deeper and more essential to who we are than being a missionary, a mobilizer, or any of the other roles we accept. When our identity in Christ is solid, we can run the long race.
2. Connect With Others
Another thing that keeps us inspired is to connect with people who have similar passions. Then we realize we are not alone. We can also share what’s working and what we’re struggling with. We can pray for each other and encourage each other. That coming together is so crucial, life-giving, and inspiring.
3. Get Coaching
Along the same lines, it helps to find a mentor or a coach. Often we don’t need to be told what to do. We don’t need more information. We just need somebody who can draw out the wisdom that is already in us and help us to figure out the next step, and then check in and say, “how did it go?” and keep us moving.
4. Do First, Then Teach
The reason I keep fighting for mobilizers to inspire themselves, first, is because of this principle: do first, then teach. Whatever we are doing and living, that’s what people are going to pick up on, in the same way, that a child watches their parents.
What Do You Want to See Happen?
Now think about your community, your family, team, church, or organization. What might it look like if they were more fully engaged in God’s mission? What would you like to see in them? Here are a few ideas.
- Praying fervently: I don’t know about you, but I would like to see people pray fervently and specifically for the unreached. How about me? How am I doing with that? Am I praying, fervently and specifically? If I’m not living it, modeling it, I have little to no authority to challenge and inspire others to do that. We have to live it first.
- Giving generously: I want to see people give generously and even sacrificially to frontier mission efforts. So how are you doing with that? How am I doing with that? If we are not tithing, if we are not giving sacrificially, we have little or no authority to challenge others to give in those ways.
- Living as learners: We want to see people who are open to new ideas—life-long learners. How are we doing? Can we inspire others in this area? Be a learner. If we want to see people recognize what God is doing in the world, understanding his mission and the task remaining, we, too, should be growing in our understanding of the world and passing on what we learn.
- Willing to go: We would love to see in our communities a willingness to go and serve locally and globally. That may mean that we need to regularly ask ourselves, am I willing to go? Am I serving those God is calling me to serve?
- Spending time with the lost: And of course, we want to see people who have a love for the lost and are willing to spend time with people who don’t know Jesus. So, let’s check our own lives and say, how am I doing with that? To whatever degree I am living that out, I have more authority to invite and inspire others to do the same.
The Story of Jen and Joe
Jen and Joe are a Latin American couple who came to a mobilization workshop and really got it. They went home and got their whole church starting to pray for and give to an unreached people group in Africa. Things were going so well! It was super encouraging!
Then there was a misunderstanding that really set them back and disappointed them.
I was so encouraged to see them go back to God and say, “God, help us love our community and forgive and release them.” They also had access to other mission mobilizers who were able to encourage and mentor them. And that allowed them to keep going.
Recently, Joe was able to go to that unreached people group in Africa with resources and bring back fresh stories about what God is doing there. After that, more communities in their country started to pray and give and go.