Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
I keep bumping into people starting “missional communities” and doing “incarnational ministry”.
Let’s hope the intention is to return to the example that Jesus set in the Gospels and the disciples followed in Acts.
Let’s start with Jesus. What did missional community and incarnational ministry look like for him?
One word: movement. Literally—Jesus never settled down in one place. He never went deep in one location. He was always on the road.
Schnabel suggests that Jesus followed a plan, seeking to visit all towns and settlements in Galilee to preach his message of the dawn of God’s kingdom, with no particular town really being his ‘hometown.’
He walked from settlement to settlement and taught men and women, large crowds and small groups, in synagogues and in open fields, in small market places and in private houses.
In his three year public ministry, Jesus could have easily visited the 175 towns and villages throughout Galilee. It would have been difficult to find any of the 200,000 people of Galilee who had not encountered Jesus in some way. Most of the half million Judeans would have heard of him including many of the 100,000 inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Why was Jesus always on the move? He wanted to give as many people as possible an opportunity to repent and believe. He was looking for responsive people. He was training the workers who would one day go to the ends of the earth.
So if you want to join Jesus' missional, incarnational community you had better put on your walking shoes. Jesus just left for the next town.