We serve a King whose heart is for the nations.
Even in the Old Testament, in the middle of His ache to rescue His own distracted people, God’s eyes are across the water. According to Isaiah 49:6, “He says, ‘It is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.'” If you thought you followed a safe King who values comfort and small goals, sorry. There is danger here, risk, adventure. Vast dreams nestled in the mind that created black holes and dandelion fuzz.
Let’s wrap up this series on inreach and outreach with practical ways to let God’s heart become our own on a big scale. (As always, these are best done alongside your small group and with your pastor’s support.)
1. Adopt refugees, foreign nationals, or other neglected groups to love on and support.
2. Take up a collection (or fundraise—the more creative, the better) for current/future disaster relief around the world. You can choose either a general need (whatever happens to come up next) or a specific problem to target (like preparing kits for families displaced by war or providing a village with a well of clean drinking water).
3. Write encouragement letters to deployed soldiers.
4. Prep yourself: get in shape, update your passport, learn a new language, read a book like Let the Nations Be Glad. Take care of the details so that when God calls, you can give an immediate yes. (To amp this up, include a letter to your family in case you die on the mission field. You may never have to use it, but it’s a phenomenal perspective-shifter for what really matters.)
5. Send Christmas cards and toys to an overlooked orphanage. If you’re really burdened for these kids, start the process of adoption. What better display of redeemed reality than a daily, living representation in your home? Dream big—make it your small group’s goal to empty out that orphanage in the next five years.
7. Research and commit to fair trade options that restore dignity to the poor across the globe. Kick it up a notch by hosting an annual fair trade market night at your church featuring treats, jewelry, bags, clothing, and home goods.
8. Team up with The Exodus Road to fight sex trafficking and modern-day slavery. (I love getting text updates about souls set free from prostitution or forced labor in the middle of my ordinary life.)
9. Find a nonprofit that appeals to you to bless. If you have no clue about where to start, I include lots of ideas in my monthly favorite things posts.
10. Find an existing mission trip and get involved. (I say existing because if you’ve never been on a mission trip, you should go and learn a few times before putting one together on your own. But if you’re a long-time field veteran, go for it, friend!)
11. Pray systematically through the nations. (The Operation World book is a good resource for this, though you can feel free to branch out and get crazy.)
12. Hold a nations awareness night at church with booths featuring the most lost countries and their cultures; invite missionaries to speak, spotlight the peoples’ customs, and pray for their biggest needs.
13. Identify with the least of these by participating in the 30 hour famine. (It’s designed mainly for teens, but I promise it’s so much fun, even for the most austere grownup. And very eye-opening.)
14. Prepare Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes all year long.
15. Adopt an international missionary to help support financially, emotionally, and spiritually as they work on the frontline of global ministry.
We’re all in this together, and when the body of Christ goes mobile, God-sized things happen. I’d love to hear any other ideas you can think of about how to reach a world in need!