The global pandemic has impacted everyone, changing many of the ways we have lived life in the past. Some have managed these changes without difficulty; others have become so demoralized that they are about to give up hope. The good news is that you do not have to be immobilized by these changes; you can pivot and press forward to impact the world for good, regardless of your circumstances. Here are three ways you can significantly improve the lives of people without leaving your house.
Mentor a Prisoner
During Covid-19, Christian ministries and family members have been prevented from in-prison visits, so it has been a long, lonely time for the incarcerated. As a result, many men and women are in desperate need for encouragement from believers on the outside.
Crossroads Prison Ministries’ mentorship program helps prisoners study the Bible by connecting them with people like you. They have access to over 100 guided Bible study lessons, free of charge. The program pairs prisoners with mentors (fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from churches all over the world), who review the lessons and encourage the incarcerated to grow in their faith.
These studies equip prisoners to transform their communities (both behind bars and upon release from prison). As a mentor, you have the opportunity to remind prisoners that they are not forgotten and that they are deeply loved by God.
During this COVID season, when other avenues to serve are limited, this is a fantastic way for you to let your light shine (Mt. 5:16). When you minister to the incarcerated, you minister to Jesus himself (Mt. 25:36). Crossroads Prison Ministries will train you from start to finish, so even if you have no experience with prisoners or prison ministry, you are an ideal person to take up this ministry. All correspondence goes through Crossroads’ office so you are protected from prisoners contacting you directly.
Equip Yourself for Greater Effectiveness
In His Great Commission, Jesus commanded us to make disciples among the world’s ethnic groups. For centuries this required missionaries to move overseas to share the gospel on the mission field. But now God has done something amazing: He has brought the mission field to us in America!
The unreached people groups of the world have moved away from their homelands and into our communities as refugees and immigrants, as diplomats and medical/business professionals, and as international students. They have become your co-workers and neighbors.
Those who have settled far from their ancestral homelands are called “diaspora” (meaning dispersed). Dispersion is not a new strategy in God’s effort to bring the nations to Himself. Paul said: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him” Acts 17:26-27.
Therefore, God has moved the diaspora to you so they can find Him. You have the incredible privilege of being God’s workmanship to do the good work of inviting the diaspora into His family.
But you may feel overwhelmed for such a task. Having more time at home during COVID could be a golden opportunity where you can become equipped to reach the diaspora He sent to you. EveryInternational offers excellent and free training and coaching to make you an effective cross-cultural minister of the gospel.
They do this through video lessons that take you through every step in the process: meeting, befriending, and discipling so the diaspora can become ambassadors of Christ within their own culture. Whether you feel inadequate to share the gospel, or you have been actively witnessing for decades, EveryInternational can help you grow in your skill to play a part in His Great Commission.
There are three courses, but you can choose to take only one or two if you prefer. Each course takes about four hours, but you can complete this at your own pace, dedicating a single chunk of time or spreading it out over several weeks or months. Someone will guide you by email to review your progress as you go. At the completion of the first course, a coach will help you implement what you have learned.
Here is a testimony from one of the participants: “These courses give great reasons to be involved with the nations God is sending to America where they can be much more easily reached with the gospel. The courses on cultural sensitivity are really good and help you get started on the right foot. The different worldview course is especially relevant for us westerners to see different perspectives.”
Be a Minister of Reconciliation
God has given us the assignment to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). The death of George Floyd revealed that there is significant work remaining to reconcile the broken relationship between Black and White Americans. The good news is that the Body of Christ is in the best position to overcome the barriers that impede that ministry of reconciliation.
The first barrier is that we tend to talk openly only with those of our own ethnicity; Blacks have private conversations with other Blacks, and Whites have private conversations with other Whites. These private conversations only reinforce misinformation about each other. The second barrier is that White people can feel overwhelmed by this topic and either wish it would go away or try to find a quick solution (such as reading a book or watching a video). The third barrier is that we tend to slip into worldly, political solutions rather than looking to the Word of God for guidance.
The best way to overcome these three barriers is through personal relationship and safe dialogue among those who love Jesus, obey His Word, and are led by the Spirit. And because this problem was created and reinforced over generations, it will require a long-term, sustained effort over years (not just days or weeks).
In order to create this environment we have launched a quarterly Zoom gathering called Reconciliation Fellowship. This is a group of Black and White (and other ethnicities) believers from across America who want to listen, learn, and lament together, so that friendships are formed and Jesus is glorified.
This one-hour fellowship met for the first time in October and meets again on January 7, 2021. The first half includes prayer and Bible teaching from co-leaders Pastor Rickie Bradshaw (African American) and Don Allsman (Anglo). The second half is dedicated to breakout groups of 4-6, discussing Kingdom-based solutions to the differences we encounter.
Commenting on this experience, Dr. Edith Robinson-Davis (who is Black) said, “This is an excellent step to engage in conversation about a tough topic in America’s history. It is courageous, innovative and thoughtful, where I sense God’s favor saying, “This is the way, walk therein.” This space allows us to have non-threatening, caring and compassionate conversation that demonstrates the love of Christ through diversity and dignity.”
Debi Tengler (who is White) said, “Our time together was touched by the presence of the living God and it moved me to tears, tears of joy. We witnessed a touch that we so often only hear about. I felt God must have taken such joy to see His children come together and for us to take delight in Him. What a joy. Thank you for including me, I cannot wait for the next time.”
If you sign up, you are not obligating to meet every quarter, just whenever you can. Whether you are Black, White, Brown, Asian, or any other ethnicity, you are welcomed in this fellowship. Sign up or find out more about Reconciliation Fellowship at: https://www.completion.global/get-involved.
Winston Churchill has been associated with the phrase, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” He was saying that you need to look below the surface of a crisis to see the underlying opportunities. As followers of Jesus, this pandemic offers several ways you can make “the best use of the time because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).
Reject the hopelessness the world offers and embrace ministries like these, as you demonstrate the love of Christ while protecting others from COVID-19.
Go impact the world!
About Completion Global, Inc.
Completion Global is a Christian networking organization seeking innovation for the Great Commission. We seek to bring together various elements of the Body that have been separated or disjointed, to catalyze collaborations, and to create new tools to finish the work of Jesus’ Great Commission. We do this in three ways: mobilizing the Church to the opportunity of U.S. diaspora mission, equipping prisoners to join the mission force, and developing urban coalitions to crowdsource world missions without leaving home. Completion Global was founded in 2018 by Don and Cathy Allsman after 30 years of service with World Impact, Inc.
This article is submitted by Don Allsman of Completion Global. Completion Global is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.