To Reach the World… Think Small!

It was 8:24am on Tuesday, February 25, when I got the text.

I was riding in an Uber to Sky Harbor Airport on my way to Tanzania. One of our SBC missionaries was letting me know his organization was cancelling all global travel. His follow up text asked whether SBC was shutting down all our global trips as a result of Covid-19 as well.

The world shut down just three weeks later. Global travel is still shaky. Gathering together in person at church looks different now, and lots of people haven’t been back to their offices for work since March. Many things have gone virtual. But Jesus’ promises to the Church and the “Great Commission” have not changed one bit. Our methods of ministry might need to change, but our calling has not.

God is calling us back to the “old normal,” not some kind of “new normal.”

God created us for life based around people, not programs. Life has always been, and always will be, about relationships for God’s people. These include our relationship with Him and our relationships with others.

So, when we can’t gather in large groups, let’s gather in small groups. When we can’t run certain programs, let’s think creatively about how we can safely still be with people. Let’s meet our neighbors. Let’s invest in smaller discipleship groups, and let’s pray! To reach the world in this season, we need to think small!

There are many beautiful things happening right now. God continues to show us all that He is working (John 5:17). Here are just a few of the examples I have observed that involve God’s people “thinking small.”

  • Loren’s family has added a gathering area in front of their home. The neighbors on their street are getting together and spending time there as families.
  • Tyler, Hank, and Jarrett joined a discipleship group in July. They meet on Monday nights and encourage one another in life, their jobs, and in leading their families.
  • Lynne has started a small group prayer time on Thursday mornings to pray for the Global Counseling ministry. Now they Zoom in “guests” from all over the world and pray for them.

Here is our reality: we need each other! We need community. We weren’t created to live in isolation. We were created to be in relationship—both with God and one another—even if the way that happens needs to change for a while.

How can we “think small”? How can you “think small”? Start thinking about a few people God has placed in your life, then start praying for them. Then think of how you can start to connect with them. These could be your neighbors you never talk to (scary thought, right?); they could be people you work with or go to school with; or simply those people and relationships the Lord seems to keep bringing around you.

I’m thinking of three men I plan to get coffee with soon. I see them regularly at our kids’ sporting events, but I don’t really know their stories. This kind of “thinking small” sounds like the “old normal” to me…and the way Jesus did it. Perhaps our current pandemic-impacted year is giving us the opportunity to think differently. To think small, and to start reaching our world.