My first mission trip was to India. There, standing on a busy, crowded street one day, God said to me, “You see a crowd but I see individuals and I know everyone by name, and I sent My Son to save them”.
As I stood there, I realised that my perspective had changed and I saw people God loves. The world is full of people who need the love of Christ. You are here because someone brought the love of Christ to you.
Encounters with God are to lead us to mission. When Isaiah encountered God, he got an awareness of his condition; he experienced God and got personal cleansing. He heard the heartbeat of God, “who shall we send?” And he said, “Here am I, send me!”
The church at Antioch was a sending church. “...Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them”. Then having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:2-3.) God so loved the world He gave (or sent) His only Son. The heart of God is a heart full of love. It’s a heart that wants to give. God gives us to people. You are a gift, if you will let God love people through you.
Apostolic means to send on a mission, to expand the Kingdom. God calls all of us to be apostolic in that sense. God wants to send you. He wants to shift the thinking of the church from the pastoral mindset into an apostolic, missionary mindset. Wherever you go, God sent you. Wherever you go, you are to carry the love of God, the life of God and to impact the people that you meet. Wherever you go, you carry something of the Kingdom of Heaven and your experience with God.
In the first mention of the church, it was called the House of God and the gateway for Heaven. The Holy Spirit is given to every believer. Why? Because God wants you to be a gate through which He can flow and touch the lives of those who have never known Him. Someone did that for you. Someone opened their heart and their life and God flowed through them and touched you.
The Holy Ghost sends us. The initiative comes from the heart of God. It’s in the heart of God to send us to people who desperately need Him. You may not know how God can use you, but if you open your heart to Him and say, “here am I, send me”, then the Holy Spirit will provide you the opportunities. There is a process and a journey.
God puts a seed of desire in our hearts – a seed of destiny. Ephesians 2:10 says we were created for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. God wrote a scroll for you before you were born. When you get connected to God, the scroll starts to unroll and be revealed. Line by line – a little at a time, as we step forward into it. There is always more.
God connects us with others. Barnabas was connected with others in the church. He started with spiritual formation, then he was shaped and then launched. He got strengthened in God and developed a greater capacity. It doesn’t happen just in nice church meetings. It takes place when you face difficulties, setbacks and challenges. In the midst of that, when you rise up and get hold of God and are broken before Him, then you start to flow out and impact others. When you deeply trust God, you realise that it’s not about you and what you can do; rather it’s about God flowing through you.
Every one of us is called by God. We all have a seed of destiny. There is a scroll written in heaven for you. Open your heart to God.
Mike Connell has been a popular speaker at many PK events. He is the founding pastor of Ascend Global Church, Hastings (formerly Bay City Church) where he continues to provide apostolic oversight.