In most missions presentations the focus is on the biggest countries with the most unreached peoples. That makes sense in many ways. As we consider where resources are needed most, we all want to go where the need is greatest. But is our definition of “BIG” the same as God’s? Explore this Missiographic research as we reframe our definition of the least and challenge our missions priorities.
We tend to think in terms of “Better and Bigger.” But is that how God thinks? God indeed has a big heart, but His big heart values everyone; including people and places we might consider to be small and out of the way.
Engaging through Prayer
Dear God, Every person matters to you. You never play favorites and your heart breaks for each person who is suffering, alone and separated from you. Help me to have that same heart and resist the temptation to care more about countries and peoples that are always in the news or constantly being featured just because of the prominence the world ascribes to them. Help me to have your BIG heart for the least! Amen
Who doesn’t want a bigger TV, a faster car, a larger cup of coffee or a larger piece of your favorite dessert? Our global economy has taught us to value and desire things that are bigger, better and more. But is that how God sets His priorities? Think about who Jesus spent time with in his short time on this earth? Consider who God tapped to lead His people, Israel, so many times? Over and over we see that God’s priorities seldom match ours. Use this infographic about God’s BIG Heart for the Least to reorient your priorities. Ask yourself how you might want to realign your prayers, resources and advocacy towards the least.
Engaging the Church
As a church, you want to have a significant impact. Many times we mistake big eternal impact for doing things that look big in the eyes of the world. Who would want to take a missions trip to an island with a relatively small population if you could go minister to millions? Is it really possible to get your congregation interested in places they have never heard of? Everyone knows China is important but what about Tuvalu? Consider the places with the shortest people, fewest tourists, least fresh water and ask yourself how you might serve those who are at the bottom of these various lists. Then look at the places God has called you to serve and ask which people represent the least there. What could you do to advocate for the least in our world? Consider focusing on a group of people who are the least in some way alongside others who have much more. Remember that every effort you make to reorient your church to have God’s heart will reap benefits in every area of your ministry as you develop people into mature believers.
In ministry organizations, we like the big things. Big visions with big budgets that impact big populations work. But who defined “big”? Is the need you are meeting big to you or BIG to God? This is such a great challenge because it is easier to raise resources for things that are also on the homepage of CNN or the BBC. Think about the giving response to the Vanuatu Cyclone vs the Haiti Earthquake. One captured the attention of much of the world for weeks if not months. The other got a few stories before and after landfall and then was forgotten. Are you allowing the world’s priority to define what you value as big? What can you do to help keep your eyes on the things that are BIG to God? How might you evaluate opportunities through a lens of Kingdom values? Have you documented Kingdom values in a way that you can discuss with your staff? Are you rewarding those who think beyond the headlines to priorities that might be on God’s Heart?
Missiographic Research Sources
Good information is key for any individual or ministry. For more insights look at missiographics.com.
One Challenge is an international mission sending agency empowering local church ministry in more than 100 countries around the world. We provide the body of Christ with the statistical data needed to share the love of Jesus with all people in their communities and beyond in efficient and effective ways.