Missions, evangelism, and strategy.

I've read the study of missions is divided into two parts (I believe I've mentioned this before):

1. The study of missions history
2. The study of missions theory

Both are fascinating to me. The first has become what I'm writing my masters thesis on. The second is my passion, my heartbeat, what I cant get out of my head. I think about the reasons we do mission, the way we do missions, the problems with missions, the way I can be a better missionary, what it will take to call others to missions, how to cast vision for missions etc... I think about it all day long - it's the top idea in my mind. Because it's what I do.

As I get older and learn more and more what I'm good at and what I'm passionate about I am finding that calling others to missions is the only thing I like better than missions. Going and telling people about Jesus is addicting, but then when you realize encouraging others to tell people about Jesus creates a much larger impact than you can as one person, it gets even more addicting. And so I spend even more of my time thinking about missions because I want to truly understand it and to someday be able to teach missions (my dream 5 - 10 years from now).

Lately one of the things on my mind has been the focus of my evangelism. I can return again and again to the same uninterested guy and share and share and share (and I think sometimes we're called to do this, often this is exactly what I do), or I can keep looking for people with hearts that are ready to hear and receive. My prayer recently has changed from "Lord lead those I share with to a saving knowledge of you," to, "Lead me to those you've already prepared to hear your truth." Whether you believe God 100% determines if a person will believe in him or God determines 10% and the person's own decision determines the other 90%, it doesn't really matter, either way you can agree there are those who have open hearts and those who do not. I'm begging the Lord to lead me (and my team) to those who are ready to hear and respond.

Not everyone I share with will be ready. And I'll keep sharing. Sometimes people here need to hear the gospel 4 or 5 times before they accept. There was a man here a few years ago I shared with who had heard the gospel before. I asked him if he believed and his response was, "Of course I believe. If you were the only one who preached it to me I wouldn't believe, but people from all over the world have told me of Jesus - he must be true!"

So I'm learning to be strategic in my evangelism. Like raising support you can bend people's arm hoping they'll eventually give money, or you can just move on - not take it personally - and pray the Lord leads you to those who are excited to give.

I can share with those who really aren't interested. I can preach the truth of their sin and of their need for God. But if they aren't ready to fall in love with Jesus then I am not going to be able to make them. Nor is it my job.

My job is to preach the truth. I LOVE that while that is the job of all of us, it's what I actually get paid to do. I pray the Lord leads me to those whom He has revealed Himself to, because without the Holy Spirit's work I cannot hope anyone will understand me, take me seriously, or know the truth.

"For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." - 1 Thess 1:4-5

When we preach the word we depend on the Lord and His work. No matter what your theology on it. The gospel when it is received - it comes in power and with the Holy Spirit. When a soul is snatched from eternal damnation into a loving relationship of hope and joy in Jesus it did not happen without the enemy noticing. It was not a little thing. The Holy Spirit was violently involved in the battle.

It's a great joy that the Lord can lead us to places where the spirit has already been fighting, and we get to be there to reap the fruit.