Near the beginning of December, I sensed the Holy Spirit put a word from God in my spirit for the new year. I was also aware it had ramifications for the new decade. While seeking the Lord, meditating on His Word, Luke 5:4 jumped off the page and arrested me. I knew it was a direct call from God for the year.
This passage has been one God has used many times to speak to us, confirming its significance in our journey. Even before Kelly and I were married, when a group of us were just starting SVM2 many years ago, God gave Kelly this verse for the beginning activities and stages of SVM2.
The context of this passage is Jesus relating with Peter, James, and John, who would become His disciples. They were not yet (that happens after this event). They had already had some interactions with Him, however. Jesus had healed Peter’s mother in law and they had watched Jesus heal all the sick brought to Him the day before (Luke 4). They knew He was different, special.
On this particular day, Jesus got into Peter’s boat, asking him to push offshore so He could speak to the multitudes from the boat. Peter complied and listened to Jesus’ teaching. When Jesus stopped speaking, he looked at Peter and in verse 4 said, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
Simon Peter was reluctant as he had just been out all-night fishing and had caught nothing. But because He recognized something unique in Jesus he wisely obeyed (vs. 5). The result was a catch of fish Peter had never seen before, so much that the boat began to sink (vs. 6-7). Experiencing Jesus’ authority on display, Peter fell to his knees in worship and surrender, following Jesus as a disciple (vs. 11).
The Holy Spirit is calling GMMI to a new level, deliberately positioning the work for greater influence in the global mission mobilization movement. It is a call beyond the present “business as usual,” to remember the promises of God to us as a ministry, seizing them in a fresh way, acting on them. The “deep” represents going beyond the comfortable, the normal, the convenient, and with fresh and costly obedience, renewing our enthusiasm to the “heavenly vision.”
He is calling us to increase our faith in many areas, to step out, pursuing the mandate He has set before us with revived zeal and fervency. We must renew our commitment to stay the course in seeing the global Church mobilized and equipped for cross-cultural mission through the lens of abandoned devotion to Jesus. It is common to get sluggish in any work after a while. The Lord says “renew your vision, passion, single-mindedness. Don’t get sidetracked with other focal points, but with laser focus stay the course.”
Though we have been toiling (like Peter) for many years in mission mobilization through the evolution of SVM2/ GMMI and it sometimes feels we are not making much headway, the Lord is saying, “keep faithful, listen to My word, don’t get timid, don’t rely on feelings or what you can see, don’t hold back, don’t be afraid.” He is calling us to a renewed faith in Jesus to act on His word as we obediently do our little part (launch out and let down the nets), even when it seems small.
Now is the time to press forward in faith and “let down our nets” in a widespread and orchestrated way among church networks, denominations, campus ministry organizations. “Let down your nets” in our context means multiplying our tools, reproduceable events, curriculum, trainings, teachings, across many portions of the body of Christ in a variety of nations. In time, there will be a great haul of fish (fruitfulness) according to Jesus’ word.
The Lord’s timing is a crucial concept to understand in this process. Though Peter had toiled all night, catching nothing, when Jesus’ timing was right, the great haul of fish was brought in. We too have worked hard over the years, believing a great mission mobilization movement is around the corner. He has been teaching us, preparing us, step by step providing the insight, tools, strategy, for that coming movement. We are at a point where the years of preparation, trial, and error, learning, listening, observing are about to give way to the “great catch of fish.”
He is the One who orchestrates and undertakes to make a way for the fish to swim into the net. In our case, this refers to local ministries being mobilized and equipped to directly engage the unreached in multiple ways, including sending Message Bearer Teams to the unreached, to both near and distant cultures.
God is calling us to expect Him to move as we do our part. This refers to not allowing unbelief in the big picture of what He has set before us to creep in. It is easy to buy into the lie that what we are doing is of little value and the big-picture vision will never happen. Many people quit at this point. God is provoking us to expect fruit in faith to spring from our mission mobilization labors over these many years.
We know that with all God’s guidance and leading, it is a call to act, to respond. We don’t merely limp along casually, faithful to the work, yet not really believing a breakthrough is coming. A great breakthrough is on the horizon in and through our work. We don’t know when, we simply keep our hearts right, free from unbelief, staying the course with perseverance, with diligent expectation that what He has started, He will bring to completion in and through us.
We are to be encouraged by the Biblical account of the large, immediate catch of fish. Yet, in actuality, that promised breakthrough may not materialize immediately as God’s timing is different than ours. We are called to do our part (launch out and let down our nets), trusting God to do His part (bring a “great catch of fish,” which in our context means local ministries raised up as Great Commission Ministries around the world), reminding Him of His promise in these verses to do so. What does this word mean for us practically? What should this year’s GMMI focal points be as a result of this word from God? GMMI is setting a course to see the following broad, macro focal points implemented as initial steps of “letting down our nets.” There is more to the mobilization strategy the Spirit has given us, but these are priorities to get us moving in the right direction this year.
- Widespread networking among GMMI network leaders and Great Commission Equipping Center (GCEC) alumni to multiply and facilitate multitudes of “Great Commission Seminars” in their spheres of influence.
- Completing translation projects of “Handbook for Great Commission Ministries” and teaching powerpoints and instructions for “Great Commission Seminars” in Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, Burmese, Thai, Amharic.
- Getting the “Mobilization Coordinator Training” course online, using this efficient means to train, equip and release new leaders within church networks and denominations to multiply “Great Commission Seminars” in their spheres of influence.
- Developing and executing an in-depth, widespread plan for marketing and distributing IGNITE Media and Communications (Facebook, Podcasts, Constant Contact) resources among networks, associations, conferences, denominations, organizations.
- Continuing to grow and expand our three Great Commission Equipping Center schools and internship in Chiang Mai through targeted recruiting and promotion.
- Developing a plan for reproducing our training schools in at least one other geographic area of the world using a hybrid of primarily online courses with minimal required classroom time in their region.
- Expanding the reach and involvement with the Global Harvest Prayer Room while re-instating a global 21 days prayer campaign for the mission mobilization movement.