Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The role of the Holy Spirit in mission strategy

Still thinking about the role of the Holy Spirit in our mission endeavors.

I was going over some notes from our Church as Missionary workbook that Caleb Crider and I use. It is a compilation of mission writings and notes that we continually put together. We teach it when someone asks for it. Some times we may teach it even if not asked. Smile. One thing that I came across that got my attention this morning is this question.

How do we determine missions strategy?

Traditionally, missions strategy has gone something like this:

• Where are the greatest concentrations of “unreached people groups?”
• The next largest town with no evangelical witness.
• Areas of concentrated lostness.
• Areas with highest level of need.
• Influential people and/or places.

Personally, I know these are well meaning conclusions. I think the issue that I struggle with is how much can we really know about these things? How much do we rely on our statistics to guide our strategy? I think we can work real hard on getting this information as accurate as possible, however in the end these are questions that only our Lord knows the answers.

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our mission strategy?

What if the Lord directs us to go somewhere that on paper does not look as strategic as where we have researched and determined as the new hotspot or the place of greatest need.

It has been my experience that my pragmatism gets in the way of listening to God and responding to Him. I want to go where I can be most effective. I want to go where there is GREAT need. I get motivated by “needs” but the problem I have found is that there is always a place that has a greater need. What happens when God’s plan is different?

I like what Caleb says here: “If we allow Him to guide our missions efforts, weʼll find that He is actively orchestrating His work around the world”.

Read again what happened to Paul in Acts 16:6 - 10

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

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