Gospel Movements Start Small
The command by Jesus to “go… make disciples of all nations” does not just involve the aspect of going but also involves creativity in using the available avenues to make disciples. Going to a mission field and settling among an unreached people group is one part of the equation. If all someone did was to go live there and forget the core reason of going there, then no disciples will be made. I remember having a conversation with one of my friends and she told me that, she would immediately leave home and go live among an unreached people group if God told her to. She would then start preaching to the people immediately. And I was thinking, isn’t this suicidal? Someone may lose his/her life foolishly before even the mission starts. And a dead person cannot preach the gospel.
In all cases, strategy, proper understanding of the people group and the mission field itself are critical. Proper planning is needed so that the missionary’s stay is smooth and trust can be gained. Missionaries should be creative people who are able to use simple ways of sharing the gospel, using methods that don’t conflict the existing culture and practices of the people group. In my time at the frontlines, I have devised ways that have been effective and today I will share one of them: football ministry.
When I got to the mission field, I was ready to implement some of the things I prayerfully discerned could work. As I was praying to God for direction, I noted that some young guys would come to the school’s office requesting to be allowed to use the school’s playing field. This is the only field available in this area as the rest of the land is a thorny desert which cannot be used for any sporting activity. I began engaging with them and as a staff in the institution, I used my position to negotiate with the school’s administration. The youths were allowed to be using the field any time they desire as long as it doesn’t interrupt other school activities. My requests were granted and soon I got to work on a suitable plan.
I approached another colleague at work and I asked him to be accompanying me to the field just to do some runs and some work outs. He agreed and soon we started going there. As we were running and doing our work outs, young guys would almost jump over the fence in an attempt to join us. I could see them salivate at what we were doing. They longed to be part of it. We would shout back to them “you’re free to join us anytime”. They started trooping to the field to a point that they were the ones coming to fetch the balls from us at the exact agreed time. It didn’t take long to get two teams out of those who joined us. We would play against each other and this has been going on for some time now. At the moment there are over twenty young men aged 15-25years.
Eventually, I discerned that the time was right to engage the group with the gospel. There are a few Christians in the team but majority are Muslims. In boldness and faith, my colleague and I approached the team with a request to be starting the sessions with a prayer and a reading from a few verses of scriptures. Most of them agreed but the few who hesitated eventually gave in to join the rest because they still wanted to be part of the games. This was the school’s ground and this was the way we wanted it to go. Since then, we pray in the Name of Jesus and read scriptures before the game. We aim to be and live like Jesus among them. We aim to give the Muslims an opportunity to hear the gospel through this sport and also read Jesus from our lifestyles.
There is no one way of getting the gospel to all people. There is no one formula that works for all. Because of diversity of the people, cultures and environments, different methods that work best are needed. The methods may vary from place to place but our message is same and is ever consistent with the bible. I have found it effective to use something that the local people can identify with as a platform to access their hearts. It is also good to reach out to the unreached by meeting a present need in the community. It is through such efforts that the gospel movement will continue and all disciples of Jesus are called to identify some way or another that they can use to access the lost. Our great Lord and Saviour sends us to saturate the world with the gospel until movements are happening everywhere. But we must start small, dream big and go deep.
***Peter Kale (not his real name) is a missionary serving among an unreached people group in Northeastern Kenya