By Jerry Wiles –
Fact finding, and sightseeing are opportunities for observation and being alert to the needs and interest of the people we connect with in our various traffic patterns. Sometimes, simply greeting people, making a comment, or asking a question can result in an opportunity to connect us with people and begin a relationship.
As followers of Jesus, we should have an awareness that God is always at work, in all places, at all times. When we realize we are “On Mission with God,” we can expect to often have some divine appointments, those spontaneous and natural witness and ministry opportunities. One of my mentors from years past, the late Manley Beasley, often said, “Find out what God is up to, and get in on it.” Henry Blackaby put it this way, “Identify the activity of God, and join Him.” Fact finding and sightseeing are ways of doing just that.
Prayer walking, prayer marches and prayer journeys have become topics of discussion and mission strategies in recent years. Praying on-sight with in-sight has become an effective strategy of preparing the way for reaching unreached people, especially in creative access countries. We like to emphasize that prayer walking is more than prayer, and more than walking. It is an integral part of the “Prayer-Care-Share Strategies.” It can take on many forms of expression, and is an activity every believer can engage in. In fact, we are told in Scripture to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us.
Discovering the Activity of God
A few years ago, I had the opportunity of being part of a fact-finding delegation to several foreign countries. On those trips our delegation met with and interviewed business and church leaders, government officials and community leaders. It was during a time when the news media was not giving accurate coverage of what was actually going on. It was a great learning experience and insightful regarding ministry and mission strategies.
When you think about it, each of us can be on a continuous sightseeing and fact-finding mission every day. Wherever we go, we can be in a spirit of prayer, we can observe people, listen, and learn, gain spiritual insight, and develop relational connections. A key factor is being aware of our spiritual union with Christ, recognizing His presence in and with us, and the power that is available to us. As ambassadors of Christ, we are to be salt and light to those around us.
I am often around those who are struggling with spiritual growth issues. Many true believers are often trying and striving to be mature and become fruitful in their witness and ministry to others. However, there are often barriers to entering the fullness of life in Christ and living the abundant life He promised in His Word. The answer to this dilemma is no secret, and the solution has been expressed in many ways over a long period of time.
Not I, but Christ Lifestyle
Ultimately, it takes the Spirit of God to reveal to us that it’s “not I, but Christ” living in us that is the key to abundant living and fruitful ministry, according to Galatians 2:20. There are many other places in Scripture that affirm this truth. God is faithful to use many ways to show us the futility of our own self effort. For me, it was during the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s. The Lord used several different individuals in my life. One of those was the late Major W. Ian Thomas, founder of Torchbearers International, and author of The Saving Life of Christ and other books.
Seasons of Spiritual Transformation
It was a season of transformation for many of us, especially among college students and young people. After experiencing that reality, I began to actively share with others and see more people come Christ “accidently,” than I had ever been able to produce before on purpose. It was a discovery of the difference between my human effort on His behalf and experiencing His work through me. It’s the outworking of the indwelling Christ that enables us to be fruitful and experience His reproducing life through us.
God’s Will and Purpose
When we consider God’s will and purpose and why we are here on planet earth, we must think of the mission we are on and the mission field we live in. A pastor friend likes to emphasize that we are to reach our neighbors, our networks, and the nations. It’s the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that makes that possible.
The Lord has brought the nations to us here in North America! Where I live in the Houston area, we have in our neighborhood families from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Literally, He has brought the nations (people groups) to our doorsteps.
Being Salt and Light Everywhere
Wherever we happen to be, whether in our neighborhood, a shopping mall, an airport or on the job, we can and should be salt and light to those around us. We can all engage in prayer walking, sight-seeing and fact finding. When we do so, we can trust that the Holy Spirit will connect us with people who need the Lord.
As a follow up to our Orality Training Workshops, we sometimes actually go out to where people are and show them how that works. People are often amazed and surprised at how many people are open to having spiritual conversations when approached in an appropriate manner. It has been said that it’s easier caught than taught. We need teaching and proclamation, but demonstration is also important. Word and deed, show and tell, integral mission are all ways of expressing how the Gospel needs to be heard, as well as experienced. It’s not enough to proclaim the Gospel, people need to hear it, understand it, process it (usually in community), remember it, and pass it on. Reproducibility and multiplication are vital for lasting and far-reaching impact.