The book of Nehemiah. Ever read it? If you haven’t, you should. It is a fantastic book and one of my favorites to read in the Bible. A group of us from church have been studying it every Sunday night. It has been a neat journey taking the book slowly and breaking it down chapter by chapter.
As the study of Nehemiah came to a close, we decided to take on a challenge. 52 days had been spent rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. The crew worked night and day until the job was finished. The dedication and unity of the people is amazing and we have decided to follow their example. For the next 52 days we will concentrate on building our spiritual “wall” through outreach and evangelism.
Our leader gave us a list of 30-some ideas on what we could possibly do as outreach. The list includes things such as: praying in a public place, baking cookies for a neighbor and inviting them to church, sharing what you have been reading in your Bible with someone at work, walk up to someone on the street and share the gospel, etc. The goal is to get out there, get out of your comfort-zone, and make a difference for the Kingdom of God.
When I first heard that we would be doing this I thought it would be more of a group effort but it is not. Yes, we are all united and have the same goal but it is up to each person individually to follow through each day. We are not going out in large groups and hitting the streets but rather are going through our daily lives looking for the opportunities that already surround us and creating opportunities right where we are at.
To add to the challenge, we all have been assigned an accountability partner. The job of this person is to make outreach harder for you by not allowing you to stay in your comfort-zone. If you are comfortable handing a gospel tract to someone, or baking cookies for your neighbor then your accountability partner is there to challenge you to take on something more difficult that will put you outside of your comfort-zone. They are not to allow excuses for why you can’t outreach that day or allow you to find any loop-holes and take the easy way out.
You are required to talk to your accountability partner every single day. Yes. You are to talk to them each day for the next 52 days. If you have not done any outreach that day then they are supposed to challenge you to go find someone before midnight. They also become your prayer partner for this time period. And, the whole time while they are challenging you, checking up on you, praying for you, etc. you are to be doing the same for them.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on this challenge. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the concept because I loved it and thought it was a really neat idea. But rather, the whole thing scared (and still scares) me. 52 days is intense and a huge commitment. Not only am I afraid of not being able to meet my commitment but I am also afraid of each situation that will help me meet my goal.
The challenge is intense. It is not something that can be done flippantly. It is intentional and deliberate. However, despite all of that, one of the reasons why I chose to take on the challenge is because I saw it as an opportunity to grow. I have always wanted to be involved in missions and to do outreach/evangelism but I have always been too scared to actually go outside my comfort-zone and do it. This challenge is giving me the push and accountability I need to get started. Am I excited? Yes! Am I scared? You bet!!! But most importantly, I know this is something that pleases God. I look forward to the growth that results from this project regardless of how painful it will be – for it will be painful.