Start Where You Are

Todd Stiles   -  

The Jerusalem church of Acts 2, led by the very men who heard the final instructions of Jesus, were a missional band of believers. They did exactly what they were told to do: make disciples of all nations.

Luke not only records this endeavor in his historical account “The Acts of the Apostles,” but he provides other insight in this same book that gives both a descriptive pattern and the prescriptive principles for mission and missions.

What we see, essentially, is a model of mission and missions that has three dimensions: a geographical dimension, a logistical dimension, and a spiritual dimension. Thus, one could say the first church operated in a “3D environment” regarding mission and missions.

Likewise, these three dimensions (geographical, logistical, and spiritual) provide for us a very biblical way to go about the mission of the church, and for sure the missions of the church. In short, these dimensions could be defined in three short sentences: Start where you are, use what you have, send who the Spirit selects.

Concerning the first dimension, I find it intriguing that often we assume those first disciples went somewhere else. But they didn’t. They simply started where they already were—in Jerusalem. In fact, the word “go” in Matthew 28:19 is best rendered “as you are going.” Combine this with Acts 1:8, where they were told they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, and the plain sense is that they were to be going about their life in a natural way but with a supernatural power, the kind of power that would enable them to be disciple-making witnesses right where they already were.

Admittedly, they were witnesses to all different kinds of people, but at least initially this did not happen in all kinds of different places. Rather, it started right where they were.

What we see is a rippling of their influence, predicted by Jesus in fact. And just as assuredly as Acts 1:8 lays out what they’re to do, it also assured them of what God would do. Acts chronicles precisely this “rippling effect” of the early church by showcasing their witness in Jerusalem (Acts 2-7), their witness in Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-12), and their witness to the ends of the earth (Acts 13-28).

But it all started where they already were.

Today, start where you are. Be missional where you are already planted. Make disciples in your current context. That really is the essence of “going”—it’s an action you are already undertaking. So make the most of your movement today by making disciples wherever you are already going.

Yes, start where you are.

Pastor Todd