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Small Steps Towards Mission – Saved and Sent by Jesus

How do you get from growing up in rural mid-Canterbury to cross-cultural mission in the megacity of Tokyo? This is week one of a four-part miniseries "Small Steps Towards Mission" following NZCMS Mission Partner, Luke Sinclair. In this series, Luke highlights four key turning points in his life and four small steps of everyday discipleship that God can use to send each of us out on mission. We begin with Luke's first article "Saved and Sent by Jesus".

The most radical step I have made on my path towards Japan was to invite some classmates to go and watch Batman at the cinema. That may seem like a mundane, everyday affair but in the journey God has led me on, this became a significant turning point. To see how the Dark Knight fits into the picture, let me first backtrack to earlier in my story.

I grew up in mid-Canterbury and had followed Jesus my whole life. Through encouragement at youth group, I had loved sharing the message of Jesus with my friends at school and did outreach in our community and in short term mission trips to Fiji. Yet, after moving to Christchurch to study at the University of Canterbury, it took only six months for me to walk away from Christianity. The shock and loneliness of living in my hall of residence coupled with the challenge of vocal and provocative atheists made me unsure whether I could trust anything about Jesus. And so, I quietly withdrew from Church, from Christian friends, and from seriously trying to engage with my questions.

After 18 months or so of drifting, I finally admitted to myself that I was miserable and needed to find answers. I had heard of a new church for students and so I started attending. At the same time I was continuing to think through atheism and agnosticism and, to keep my mind open, also joined some Buddhism classes. While comparing and contrasting all these worldviews I increasingly saw how the Bible’s answers to the big questions of life fit best with my experience of the world. And as I went back to the Bible I was brought face to face with Jesus again and was amazed by Him. There wasn’t an individual moment, but over that year God slowly brought me back to being a follower.

Then one morning as I sat reading my Bible, I came across a passage speaking about God’s judgement. And the question rose in my mind for the hundredth time - “Do I really believe all this again?” So I worked through my findings: Do I have good reason to trust these words are the reliable records of the eyewitnesses? Yes. Do I have good reason to trust that Jesus rose from the dead and that His words can be trusted? Yes. And on top of all that – is it good? Absolutely! I hadn’t learnt anything fundamentally new about the Gospel over that year. But what I now had was a deeper view of grace. I had turned my back on God, but He had not stopped loving me. Jesus, the good shepherd, had left the 99 and had come after this one sad, lost sheep.

Then along floated in the next thought – “This matters for all my Uni classmates who don’t know any of this!” And as I prayed I came up with one very small but totally radical step: Batman.

We were a reasonably nerdy bunch who only talked about assignments, sport, and TV shows. However, we didn’t do much together and our relationships weren’t at a depth where we could discuss what really mattered to us. If I wanted them to know Jesus, something would have to change, and the new Batman movie seemed a good start to connect with each other more and grow in friendship. Though I was shy and disliked taking the initiative, I invited them, organised the event and got them all along to watch the movie.

That small step of everyday discipleship was the turning point God used to get me praying for and, timidly, trying to tell people about Jesus. I knew that as a disciple I was saved by Jesus and sent to tell the world about Him (John 20:21). But it was only until I knew how good His good news was for me personally, that I became motivated to go outside my comfort zone to do this. Saved and sent by Jesus - how could I not want the people in my life to know the good news He offers them too?

Do you know someone discerning what it means to be "Sent by Jesus"? We invite you to share this series with them. We will be publishing one article a week here on our website and our Facebook Page.

Luke & Naomi Sinclair

Preparing for Ministry in Japan

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