I learnt from a junior colleague at work that he and his church mates led 25 people to become Christians at a recent outreach event (out of 85 visitors). The same colleague spent a gap year in Australia leading many total strangers to Christ. His girlfriend is now in Japan doing the same, leading strangers to Christ and following-up on discipling them.
In both Singapore and elsewhere, they would take time to connect with friends of friends, as well as complete strangers through eg. online language learning apps, community events, and going up to people at public venues. They would simply chat with people, meet up with them in groups, make friends, and offer to pray for them. Do they get rejected? Many times! But amidst the rejection, there are many successes. He tells me that in Singapore, 50% of strangers they contacted engage further and meet up, 15% choose to believe in Jesus (in the past it was 33%). In Australia, 10% engage further and 5% believe.
I realised I had much to learn. To be missional, I need courage to overcome discomfort with authenticity.
Many of us are introverts. “Paiseh” to talk to people, even those familiar to us. We feel that it’s “awkward” or “weird”. We self-justify by rationalising that people on the other end will also feel weird. Perhaps. But we can overcome it with courage to be authentic. Everything important worth doing requires courage to overcome discomfort. And authenticity overcomes awkwardness. When we sincerely take interest in wanting to know and befriend others, to listen to them share their life issues and struggles, and also share with them our cherished beliefs as much as we seek to learn of theirs, people will lower their defences. And it’s ok to be rejected. Indeed, we should expect rejection. But also expect that amidst rejection, there will be many whom God has prepared who will be keen to engage.
I realise also that I need to remember my mission. Because I have been commissioned by the one who holds all authority in heaven and on earth.
And that means I need to constantly order my time and schedule according to this mission. What helps me are constant reminders and opportunities from our church: One4J, planning for SGC week 5 activities, BCS NV. But being missional is also more than just these. It’s also in my workplace, professional circle, family, home neighbourhood, society and cross-cultural/ border mission. I need to intentionally make time to reflect, plan, pray and execute missional efforts in all these spheres. And that itself takes time — time away from other things like leisure, TV and scrolling on social media.
In all this, I am reminded that although it is not about me, or making myself the centre of the mission, or bearing the burden of bringing people to conviction, or taking credit for being able to do so — all of which should be God or belongs to God — I get to join in His exciting adventure and witness the fruit of His working through my hands and feet. It is in courageously living out the commission that we get to experience communion—knowing that Christ is with us (Matt 28:20). And that would be so satisfying.
Courage, commission, communion. Let’s do it.
By Elder Ronald Wong