It's 2018! For many of us, the new year often adds a new breath of life into our day to day. It is an opportunity to reset and change our focus to bring change, productivity, or achieve long desired goals. When people go into selecting their new year resolutions the tendency is to have very inward focused goals such as exercising more, eating healthier (trying new health trends), being more present in relationships, and generally becoming more disciplined in areas that will improve our lives. All these are tremendous things that add value to life but this year we are following in the footsteps of a blog written by Chuck Lawless and a photo series produced by Ywam Brazil, to challenge with resolutions that bring more outward thinking. At YWAM Los Angeles we value the participation of everyone in missions and want to give practical application to involve those of you working in different spheres of society. Here are 10 resolutions for Missions in the New Year.
Here are ten resolutions to consider for 2018.
1. In my quiet time, I will watch for evidence of God’s heart for the nations.
If you look for it, you’ll find it throughout the Scriptures. Highlight texts whenever you see them. The God who called out Abraham to be a blessing to the nations (Gen. 12:1–3) is the God who deserves the worship of all the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations (Rev. 7:9–10).
2. I will pray for missionaries by name at least one day per week.
Maybe you already know a number of missionaries. If not, ask your pastor to help you connect with some for whom you can pray. Come regularly to this site (imb.org) or visit the North American Mission Board website to learn missionary stories, and then pray with intentionality. Sign up at IMB Pray or NAMB: Pray for North America to receive specific prayer requests.
3. I will learn about, and pray weekly, for unreached peoples.
Go to joshuaproject.net, and do some research. Prayerfully choose a people, and pray that the gospel gets to them. Consider this truth: you may be one of the few persons in the world praying for this group.
4. I will learn about internationals in my community.
Missions begin at home, especially when God is bringing the nations to us. Talk to your pastor or local government officials to get demographic information about your community. Talk to the international student office at a local university. Find out who is around you. Get to know them. Share the gospel with them. Pray for them.
5. I will intentionally get to know my international co-workers and neighbors.
The nations may be right around you, but perhaps you haven’t slowed down enough to get to know them. Reach out to them. Invite them to your home. You may be surprised how open they are to spending time with you and talking about spiritual backgrounds.
6. I will plan to take a mission trip this year.
Most of us can go somewhere, even if it’s in the United States. Plan to set aside the dollars and time to be a witness among the nations. If you know you can’t go this year, plan to give financial support so someone else can go. Sacrifice so many might hear the good news.
7. I will listen to and read the news through a Great Commission lens.
As you learn what’s happening in the world, think about what might be happening spiritually in countries in the news. Pray for believers and missionaries there. Then, pray for the people there who don’t know Jesus. Don’t be exasperated by the news—let it drive you to your knees.
8. I will visit ethnic restaurants in my area to get to know internationals.
It’s great to go eat, but ask to meet the owners. Talk to your servers to learn about their background. Ask about their faith. Go there regularly, and get to know people in your community who may need Jesus. I think you’ll find many people willing to talk.
9. I will pray that my church pastors have a great passion for the Great Commission.
I’ve never seen a strong mission-minded church without a strong Great Commission pastor and staff. Churches seldom develop a passion that is not exhibited in the pulpit every Sunday. Pray for your pastor, and then follow his lead to the nations.
10. I will honestly consider and answer the question, “Is God calling me to be a full-time missionary?”
Every believer must ask and answer this question. Be open to God’s calling, and listen well through his Word, his Spirit, and his people. And while you’re praying this way, pray for your children and grandchildren to do the same.
These are incredible resolutions that we believe will help you get involved in what God is doing globally. We know there are a lot of the things on this list but if each of us picks a couple resolutions to stick to in 2018 the impact will be amazing. If you have different ways of participating in the global mission of God that isn't on this list please share with us in the comments. Also, we would love to hear how your resolutions are going throughout the year (=
*Chuck Lawless is vice president and dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary and team leader for theological education strategists of the IMB. He is the author of several books, including Nobodies for Jesus, Discipled Warriors and Putting on the Armor. He writes at www.chucklawless.com. Follow him on Twitter @CLawlessjr.