finding your God-given ministries + and how you can preach the Gospel right now


Okay, so, do you remember the Great Commission?

 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inb the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19

I always thought that seemed like the hugest task for every Christian. I imagined I had to be somewhere in a desert in Pakistan teaching English to preach the Gospel and make disciples of people who had never heard of Jesus.

And while I don't think I would mind doing that {it used to be my dream, actually}, I realized somewhere along the way that for now, I've been given the same task here where God has placed me, and I've been given tons of people to preach the Gospel to right where I am.

I was focusing on the big missionary call, I guess- it didn't occur to me that God could use that verse in my life here in the States with people who have heard the Gospel before. In my mind, I had to "go" somewhere before I could make disciples. :) But the coolest thing is that the disciples did go and preach the Gospel like Jesus commanded them to, and here I am in the USA, thousands of years later, knowing the Gospel! :D

Over the last few years, I think God has shown me that the disciples can be {and need to be} made right here, too. {I don't know what He has planned for us in the future! ;)}. And His harvest is plenty- all around us, and in every single nation, everywhere!

This makes me so excited- no matter where you are, or who you are- God has given you a ministry too! 

The disciples had a specific ministry that was given to them, and you do too! Did you realize that you have a great deal of influence in the lives of others?

You have been given a particular group of people in your life- a group that is completely unique to you- on purpose, by the Lord of Hosts. And your life displays the gospel to them!

It's so crazy to me: every single person has their own sphere of influence.

You've been given a ministry of your very own- to the people God Himself has sovereignly placed in your life- and your influence is far-reaching! And like Jesus' ministry when He taught and walked with His disciples and family, your greatest influence also happens with the people with whom you spend the most time.

the circles of influence

I made a little visual of what I'm talking about. I call it the circles of influence:


Here's how it works: when God is the center of your life, His influence flows outward through you to others. And you have the most influence in the lives of the people in the circles closest to you, because you spend the most time with them.

Did you realize your family is your biggest ministry and place to share and live the Gospel? I don't know why it took me so long to realize that!

You will spend years and years of your life with your spouse, and they will refine you, and when your life is centered on God, His heart will shine through you to your husband! :)

The same with your children- though we are with them less than our spouses, they live with us for so many years- and we get to teach them most of what they will know about the world- including how Jesus has changed our lives.

these little people are the ones I have the biggest influence on.
But our ministries don't just stop there- they keep working outward. When our eyes are on Him, God shines through us, our marriages, our families, outside to our extended families and friends. Our very lives become a display of the Gospel, not to mention our ability and the opportunity to speak the words of truth to our parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles... you probably get the idea. :D

Your influence and life- whether you are walking in the light or not- spreads outward still to our friends, co-workers, people we meet at the gym, people we talk to at church- even to people we talk to in the checkout line at Walmart!

Isn't that so amazing? And so scary too?

erasing our doubts with Scripture

When you realize the size of your ministry right now- it makes you want to drop to your knees and not leave them, doesn't it? We have such a great responsibility! How can we even handle that?

Then all of these fears and doubts start to come and keep us from sharing the Gospel with the people around us. We start to think:

1. I don't know enough.
You don't have to know all kinds of theology to know Jesus. When you are saved, He gives you His Spirit, who brings all knowledge of Him! And We can't know anything about God without Him, anyway! :D You don't have to be a theologian or even go to church for years, for the Holy Spirit to work in your heart and teach you what you need to know for the moment. :) He does it through your heart, and His Word, and He will give you the right answer when you seek Him with everything.

You don't have to have all the answers for questioning people, either. Your God knows the answers, and He will guide you when to speak, and when to be silent. :)

2. I'm not good enough.
Here's the best news ever: no one is! There are no righteous people. Not a single person outside of Jesus can be good enough! :D You are a sinner, in need of a Savior, just like every other person in your life.

You don't have to be good enough, because Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. Do you want to do better? Sure- I think God has given us a desire to be more like Him, and our hearts grieve when we sin. But we always have to remember that His grace is sufficient for us- and the work has already been done. We couldn't do enough to be saved, and we can't do enough to keep our salvation. It is a gift from God.

3. I'm afraid of offending people I know.
Me too, sometimes. I think we all are at some point! But here's what the Bible says- everything will be revealed in the end anyway- and they will know the truth. And what can they really do to you, anyway:

Matthew 10: 26“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.f 

Most of us are a far cry from being killed for what we say about Jesus. We might be disliked, but really, we have nothing to lose. Our God is the only one we will stand before in the end.

4. One person isn't going to matter, anyway.
It might be easy for us to justify this fear more on the outermost circles, but I think we can't deny that our influence is huge within our families. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6, when we train up our children in the way they should go, even when they grow old, they won't depart from it. That's crazy, isn't it?

So how we act and react to our family now changes the way they act and react to us and others in the future. And even though the responsibility is great, I'm probably messing up here the most.

In fact, right now as I'm writing this, Ava wants me to stop and print her out coloring sheet after sheet, and I don't want to be patient with her. Nothing in me wants to get up and fix the printer that's broken again or get her cereal while I'm in the middle of reading my Bible. :(

But then I realize how impatient I'm being with her. I'm not showing her how patient God is with me. I'm not even giving her the same grace I've been given and don't deserve {and I'm not 3 years old!}.

Ugh. But why am I not? Because I'd rather selfishly do what I want to do instead of putting the needs of others first.{sin}. I don't even want to help the helpless 3-year-old.

And even more, the way I respond to her is teaching her how to respond to other people when they ask her to do things she doesn't want to do when she grows up.

That kind of responsibility and influence seems too great to bear, doesn't it?

I think it is.

I can't even be good enough to show my smallest child how to be good.

That's how desperate I am for Jesus.

See, my circle of influence will produce terrible fruit if left on it's own.

If I don't have God as my strength, and at the core of my life-  my sin will influence my husband and children and family, and on and on that influence will spread.

how we can share the Gospel with others

But if God is my strength and my portion- I'm no longer doing this through me- it's Him doing the work.

If my heart is a cup that is empty and broken for Him to fill- He will fill it to overflowing, and His water will spill out to all of the other circles. And it's not me doing that- it's Him.

Alone, I won't have the right words to say to that lady in the checkout line. 

Alone, I could never teach the heart of my son to be willing to share with others.

Alone, I could never know enough about the Bible to share the truth with one friend.

Alone, I can't even bring up the desire to stop what I'm doing for a small child.

I can't do any part of this life without Him.

You see, sharing the Gospel with people around you isn't about knowing the most Scriptures, or being the best rule follower, or being able to defend Creationism or anything else.

It's about knowing the Gospel from your heart- your core, because you know what the Lord has done for you, an unrighteous and unholy sinner- who has been made clean and pure because of what Jesus did for you. And because of what God is doing in your heart, He will bring the light to those around you.

When the Gospel- what Jesus did on the cross- dying for your sins and defeating death so that you can live- affects your heart from it's very core- your heart changes, and everyone can see it.

Does that mean you don't have to speak then? I can't imagine that! A heart that has been changed by the Holy Spirit could hardly contain the truth and keep it quiet! :D You won't be able to not share!

Isn't that the best news ever, though? You have no ability outside of what God gives you. You won't ever be good enough. He is the source of life and of the light- you can't spread it on your own, any more than you could create it! :D

Jesus has done the work, and He will do the work in you!

perfect people need not apply

You don't have to be perfect {trust me, you can't anyway!}. God has already fulfilled it!! :D

All you have to do is look to Him for your light. Keep your eyes on Him, and His light will shine through you like the morning sun. Give up your desires- and your defenses and doubts- and He will work through you like crazy. Oh!!!! It's so incredible!

Love Him- spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer, and your heart will start to love others more and more.

Your influence is great- God has given you these people in your life- don't try to bear that on your own.   Live for Jesus, and the light of the Gospel will shine through you because of the Holy Spirit at work!

God is so good to us- He redeemed us and is making us new. What can He not do with the people in your life too? :) No matter where you are- how long you've been saved- God can do this very same thing in you.

Oh, sweet friends, I pray that we can focus our eyes on our Savior and what He has done for us, and that His work will shine outward to even strangers in our lives! I know He can do it, and He will do it when we ask Him! :D


How have you ever seen your influence or responses affecting your family?

Have you ever felt those doubts like I have? How did God change your heart? I would LOVE to hear what God is doing in your life! :D 

Any praises for what God has done recently in your life? Please tell us so we can rejoice with you!

11 comments

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful article. And so timely, as God is working on me in this very area. I have been convicted to follow the great Commission, but never felt it appropriate to show biblical authority over men. Then I meditated on the woman at the well in John 4. God showed me that, as a woman, I can proclaim the gospel by sharing what God has done for me. The woman at the well did not go into town and open air preach. She ran into town proclaiming what Jesus knew about her and what He was telling her. The town believed her through her testimony, THEN they sought out Jesus and the disciples for further knowledge and understanding. I feel God really revealed to me that my mission and my way to spread the gospel is by sharing my story with those I meet in my everyday life. I've recently been handing out trafts, but never felt connected with any of the tracts. So I recently typed up my testimony and plan on getting them printed to hand out to people in "circle of influence." Thank you again for this encouraging read.

Jo Ferguson said...

I have been following your blog for just about a month now, and it is amazing to me how every post seems to sock me right in the gut, or be exactly what we are going through right now, from your blog about birth control, to television, to this. This especially was a doozy for me! I just finished sharing it with my DH because we had just finished talking about how The Great Commission as well as Matthew 4- "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men" has been been showing up everywhere we turn. God has been making all sorts of amazing changes in us and through us, and your blog has been so helpful and comforting, even in the more difficult topics. Thank you so much for your openness, courage and guidance- I look forward to each update!

Joya Towne said...

My husband and I were just talking about this over the weekend. I was telling him how I really want a ministry and I feel like I'm not helping others enough. Thanks for this, it gives me perspective. I pray every day that myself and my family can somehow be a blessing to others and be like Jesus in the way that we deal with others (and each other) and what we say and do. I'm not someone who can go out and preach to others. But I do get a lot of questions because of the way I eat and my lifestyle so in that way I can witness without feeling like I'm pushing something on someone, if that makes sense.

Alison Wood said...

Love this post, Mandy. It truly is a breath of fresh air. My hubby, kids and my family are actually on the other side of the world preaching the gospel. We live in Cambodia, Southeast Asia and my hubby spends almost everyday going out to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. I also get to go with him about once a week. But, my main place is in the home and my kiddos are my main mission field even though I live on the mission field:) I try to balance both missions outside my family and missions in my family.
Before we came to Cambodia I considered Wal-mart, the park and restaurants my mission field. I didn't have the opportunity to go out and visit people alongside my husband, so whenever I had to go out and run errands, spreading the gospel was heavy on my heart. I had many great conversations at the park with other moms. One time, another mom, who was not saved, got her son to grab her Bible from the car and we stayed there for quite awhile discussing truths.
Thanks for pointing out the everyday chances we are given to teach the gospel to our kids, family, friends, neighbors and strangers we meet while we are outside our homes.
Keep up the awesome work here and thank you for your open stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. He is such a wonderful Saviour! He is worth speaking up for!
Visiting from Pint-sized Treasures

Mrs. Lopez said...

Well said! My church really focuses on relationships with others and sharing the Gospel that way, sure makes a lot of sense!!!
~Mrs. Lopez of lovinglifeinpink.blogspot.com

LostinJaneAusten said...

I feel like this post was written exactly toward me. I mean I really feel the Holy spirit had me read this right after I JUST posted on facebook (which is out of the ordinary for me to do this) about how Jesus just focused on 12 disciples and how my youth ministry right now is only 6 teens. But those 6 kids could literally change the world. And so often, I badger myself over and over about how bad of an example I am. How I can never be perfect. Reading this just reminded me so clearly what I already knew, but hearing it from this post (and we know from someone else) can just make it click. Thank you so much!! Being in ministry, I don't get to actually be in church like I used to, and your blog helps me get that fill and teaching that I need too! Thank you so much. You are a blessing in my life and I am in that stranger circle. You are doing great if you are reaching those outer circles!

NicoleM said...

Please keep sharing your heart with us. I have been so challenged and encouraged by what you have been sharing over the last few months. I find myself pondering over things you have shared- especially your post on media and the quote by John MacArthur. Thanks for being so open with people you don't even know!

Mandy said...

That's true- I feel like God has really hit me with that- it's my job to describe what God has done in my life- my testimony is my story of what God has done in my life, and I want to tell other people what He has done! :D thank you for sharing your thoughts!!! :D

Mandy said...

I love how God gives us all our own story- and it is different on purpose- and God uses you at the perfect time to tell others what He has done and He leads them! And I love that you and your family are trying to follow what Jesus says- they shall know you're my disciples if you love one another! Awesome!!!! :D

Anita Lauer said...

I never dreamed of teaching English in the desert but here I am in Riyadh so I had a good laugh at your former misconception...not that I'm a career missionary or anything like that, I was just an English teacher who was ready to intercede for the people here. I'm headed home in a few days and you have encouraged me. I can hardly wait to love on the "more ordinary" people in my lives who need it so much.

Vicky said...

I am enamored right now by your words. I know all of this, but I needed to hear it, in this way, tonight. It is almost midnight, so i am following you here, and on twitter, and leaving this tab open so I can read your blog in the morning with my coffee. I have a new ministry. New, like, 2 days old! you can follow me @sctrjoyministy on twitter. I also have a blog that tells a little more about my testimony living with temporal lobe epilepsy. I have suffered with 2 to 3 seizures a week for 5+ years, and the doctors told me the end of February there is nothing else to be done. Well, I KNOW something I can do! I can tell others that through the struggle, God has never left my side. He has provided for me supernaturally, and I want to shout it from the rooftops. It is time to tell my story...Oh, I get to rambling on! Go visit if you have a chance. i can't wait to read more about YOU! joy! ~Vicky