By Ryan Franklin
I AM A MISSIONARY. I teach Bible studies. I share the gospel by living what I teach. It is who I am. It is what I love to do.
I am a missionary. Central Louisiana is my primary mission field. I routinely see many of the same people each day and week as I eat in area restaurants, shop for groceries and other necessities, and stop at the nearest gas station for a fill-up. These people I encounter daily are my mission. Reaching them with the gospel is my goal.
I am a missionary. My neighborhood is my mission field. I live in a subdivision. I have four neighbors living in surrounding houses. Those neighbors are my mission.
I spend days, weeks, sometimes even years building relationships with people for the purpose of this mission. It requires much prayer, fasting, time, and effort. I have learned firsthand that when I am faithful in these things, Jesus Christ provides strategic moments in, time when chance encounters become divine encounters. I am blessed with the opportunity to perform a delicate surgery in the hearts and minds of these people through a simple task called Bible study. There is nothing more fulfilling in ministry to me than sharing the Word of God and then seeing someone apply its principles to his/her life.
Jesus Christ seeks relationship. Being made in His image, as humans, we find this basic need also present in each one of us. We want to love and be loved in return. When God created Adam it was for relationship with Him; He added Eve to the picture so that Adam would not be alone. God is about relationships. Even though Adam and Eve sinned and those original and perfect relationships were marred, the mercy of God was already in place to redeem fallen man—to restore relationship between the Creator and the created ones.
Consequently, one of the greatest things I can do with my life is devote my time and energy to seeing relationship with God created—restored—renewed—in the lives of those who do life with me—even in the farthest reaching circle of acquaintance. I ask God to direct my steps and to lead me to those who are hurting and hungry for Him. I ask Him to make me sensitive to the needs of those around me. I ask Him to give me wisdom, for “He that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).
In Luke 19:10, Jesus made His own personal mission statement clear: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” I sincerely believe it is essential as disciples of Jesus Christ to take His mission statement to heart and modify it to fit our own lives. As He was about His father’s business (Luke 2:49), so must we be about His business. You and I cannot save anyone. However, we can devote ourselves to sharing the gospel message that can save everyone within the world we know.
The writer of Acts 1:8 conveyed a directive to us all—the key to fulfilling that mission statement of Jesus in our own lives. We are to be witnesses of Him, with very specific guidelines. First of all, we must receive His power. We cannot share an experience we do not ourselves have. When we receive that power, when the Holy Ghost comes upon us and lives in us and through us, we have the promise and the plan. The promise is simple: “Ye shall be witnesses unto me” The plan is clear and direct: ” . . . in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Bible study is essential to the success of our mission. We cannot teach them what we do not know. They cannot learn what we cannot teach. We must first root and ground ourselves in the Word. We must take the time to study God’s word, not just superficial reading, but in-depth study that becomes revelatory to us in how to apply it to our own lives, and how to make it powerfully applicable to the lives of those we teach.
For over seven years, I have built a relationship with and prayed for my brother-in-law. Due to a disruption in his life last year, he started attending Pentecostals of Alexandria. My relationship with him and his church attendance could only take him so far in his journey with Christ. During a divine moment, I seized the opportunity to begin The Bible Made Simple with him. Through multiple lessons and several revelatory moments, he saw the necessity of Jesus Name baptism. Pastor Anthony Mangun preached a moving message the following Sunday and he found himself in an Apostolic altar speaking in other tongues as the Holy Ghost moved upon him. Moments later I baptized him in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of his sins. There’s nothing more important or more effective than teaching Bible studies—and nothing more fulfilling than having a part in seeing someone enter into covenant with Jesus Christ!
You are a missionary! Teach Bible studies! Live the gospel! Make it part of who you are!
RYAN N. FRANKLIN is ministries pastor at The Pentecostals of Alexandria in Alexandria, Louisiana. He is a longtime Bible study teacher and writer. Ryan’s published works include The Bible Made Simple and Salvation Made Simple (available for purchase at pentecostalpublishing.com).
The above article, “Missional: The Power and Importance of Bible Studies” was written by Ryan Franklin. The article was excerpted from the Pentecostal Herald magazine. August 2016.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.