A niche. From Miriam Webster online dictionary, the simple definition of niche is:
: a job, activity, etc., that is very suitable for someone
So what is your niche in world missions? You DO have one, and maybe more than one. But this is where you are most suited to help fulfill Jesus’ great commission that make disciples of all peoples. So what is your niche?
I know you have one because Jesus commanded all His disciples for ALL time to be involved in making disciples of ALL people groups. Matthew 28:19-20. This was one of the commands to be obeyed and passed on to other disciples who would be taught to obey this. That includes you and me.
Now what is true for us and for the first disciples, is that no ONE disciple could or was expected to fulfill this command on their own. So if we can’t do the whole, we must then have a part since Jesus did command us to do this. And He did command us: It was given to all of the first 11 disciples in Matthew 28, and in that passage He commanded them to teach their disciples to obey all that He commanded them. And hence, because of this, making disciples of all peoples applies to the whole Church of Jesus for all time (until He returns). And that means we each must find and do our part to see that this is fulfilled.
So that means we each have a part or parts, and should ask God what that is and proceed to do it.
Look at how God has gifted you. Look at how God has gifted your church and the Church in your region. And ask what you can do for Him to help fulfill His great commission.
Here are some possibilities:
- We can ALL pray. In Jesus’ worker commands, He commands us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out workers to the harvest fields (Matthew 9:38, Luke 10:2). Paul asks us to pray in both Colossians 4 and Ephesians 6.
2. Mobilize: help others to get to the fields. In a sense, this is what Barnabas did for Paul. In Acts 9:26-28 we see him doing this the first time. Then later, in chapter 11:25-26 we see him do it again. Barnabas was a mobilizer: he helped Paul get into the work of ministry. He also helped John Mark at the end of chapter 15.
3. Go. Paul and Barnabas went as missionaries. Acts 13:1-3 and following. In Romans 10:14-15 we see that unless preachers are sent, how will others hear. And so someone needs to go to tell and live and serve people so that they may find Jesus. This could be short or long term, but the real goal is for people to eventually hear and believe the gospel, and for the gospel and the church of Jesus to be planted among unreached peoples.
4. Send. In Romans 10:14-15. Unless missionaries/preachers are sent, they won’t go. Someone needs to do this sending, and that group will be staying behind. They may go at another time. The church at Antioch in Acts 13 SENT Paul and Barnabas. Paul and Barnabas did not send themselves.
5. Welcome. For those who send, there may be people coming to your area that you can welcome and love and reach out to in Christ’s name. One could say this is simply local evangelism, but it is more than that. Because these are people who come to where you are from another region. It is what happened in Acts 2 with the multitude from many other places. They heard the wonders of God in their own tongues. This was miraculous. But over time, you could learn the Russian language if many Russian speakers lived near you so that you could welcome and care about them. If Foreign exchange students come to your area, or there in a university, or ethnic foods, or enclaves of foreign nationals, you have a field in which you can pray God will use you and your church, and the Church in your region.
6. Learn. Learn about opportunities and possibilities, about needs and different peoples. Explore what is being done and where great needs are. Read biographies and modern situations. Check out www.joshuaproject.net. And for books check out The William Carey Library.
Pray that the Lord will guide you personally, your church, and the Church in your region into greater fruitfulness and obedience in being part of His great harvest and commission to the peoples of the world.
I would highly recommend taking the course “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” to help you follow Jesus in the niche or niches he has for you. You can take this course on-line, or in person if a course is offered near you. Go to www.perspectives.org to check out local and on-line options.