International (MNN) — Not all of us are called to the international mission field, but Rick Whitmer believes we're all called to be missionaries.
It's easy to think anyone without a call to "missions" can take it easy when it comes to the Great Commission. But Ron Hutchcraft Ministries' Director of Ministries Rick Whitmer says denying our call to outreach wherever we are is illogical. "That would be a little bit like saying, ‘Since I don't have the gift of mercy, I guess I don't have to be merciful,'" laughs Whitmer.
The Great Commission calls every believer to share the Gospel, not just missionaries. "I just really believe that every believer is uniquely positioned as an ambassador to reach your world and your specific sphere of influence in a unique way that only you can do," says Whitmer.
That challenge can be difficult, though. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a specific season of the year that put people in a generous, open, loving mood?
"Christmas is the best rescue time of the year," proclaims Ron Hutchcraft in one of his Christmas 2010 videos. Whitmer agrees: "I believe that hearts are open this time of year, to be receptive in a way that is unlike in any other time of the year."
Christmas is the perfect time of year to reach out to the people around you in small ways. "This is a perfect time to be able to say, ‘You know what? I care about you. Here's a card, here's a gift, here's something to show that I'm thinking about you.'"
This may also be a good time to invite a friend or neighbor to church with you, since they may be more open to a Christmas Eve service than a normal Sunday. If you do go this route, Whitmer says be sure you don't just take them to church, but that you really make it worth it by asking them questions afterward, discussing the service ,and continuing the relationship afterward.
Talking to nonbelievers about our faith can still be nerve-racking, though. Ron Hutchcraft Ministries recognizes that. In fact, they've developed several tools to make sharing the Gospel easier for the sharer and more understandable for the listener.
"One of the things that our team is trying to do here at Ron Hutchcraft Ministries is provide creative tools that can be put into the hands of everyday believers," confirms Whitmer. These tools include Christmas tracts, mp3s, videos, literature, and much more. As you prepare to share the Gospel this Christmas, head to hutchcraft.com for some helpful resources.
Even more importantly, be sure you pray for them as you prepare to share the gift of redemption with others. "We like to challenge people to pray the 'three open' prayer: Open a door, open their heart, open my mouth."
Pray that doors will be open to share the Gospel message. Pray that God work in the hearts of these individuals ahead of time so that they are now ready and open to receive His salvation. Pray that the Lord would use you as His conduit and give you the words to say as you present this lifesaving information.
If you currently have no one to share the Gospel with, begin working on relationships around you.
"What are some practical ways to build some relationships? At the work place, at a place where you spend time in recreation, or maybe a local nursing home: find some place in your community where it's a natural part of what you're already doing and say, ‘God has put me here, and I'm going to find some ways to connect into their lives,'" urges Whitmer. As you begin to build these relationships, this time next year, you just may find yourself sharing the Good News.