“And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth…” Acts 1:8
We loaded up the truck and headed into the wild country. The spot we were hunting was known for being a great place to find Gambel’s Quail. We were manly men on a manly mission. There was little doubt we would harvest our limit and celebrate the hunt over a hot grill. Of course, by the end of the day the only thing that got hot was us. We covered what seemed like endless miles of canyon country and saw doves, coyotes, lizards, hawks, rabbits… you name it, but no quail. Not one. Of course, we did the only thing we could do before heading home empty-handed… take our frustrations out on some bottles and cans. The guns were finally blazin’! Turns out the quail may not have been in too much danger even if we had managed to scare some up.
The next day I am heading out the front door and what do you think was running out of the bushes and across my lawn? Yeah, a whole covey of Gambel’s Quail. I went hiking in the hills just down the street a day or two later and, you guessed it, they were everywhere! I called my faithful hunting companions and we had a good laugh… sort of. Score it Quail 1, mighty hunters, 0. The Leader Lesson is this – what you are hunting for may be closer than you think.
As leaders we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to expand our reach for Christ. This is a good thing! However, I wonder if we don’t get too far-sighted? We have great vision for and are willing to travel far and wide in our quest to fulfill the Great Commission. Again, this is good. Supporting state, national and international outreach and missions efforts should be an important part of our overall ministry strategy. However, too often we forget that who we are looking for may just be in our own back (and front!) yards! We many have lost some of our vision for those nearest to us. Let’s get practical…
Gather your lead team and ask – “Are we making a difference in our own neighborhood?” “If we went away, would those under the shadow of our “steeple” miss us at all?” “How much of our ministry resources are dedicated to developing relationships with and serving those closest to us?” “Are we doing as much for our ‘Jerusalem’ as we are ‘Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth…?'” It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. No, this is a yes/and calling.
Remember, the Great Commission starts at home. So get out there and start by checking the bushes in your own front yard!