Show readers what God is doing in a particular place? Further the mission of Bible translation? Further the Great Commission? Engage people? Inspire more prayer and funding for a particular project or cluster?
Sure, all of that. But above those stands a much simpler thought.
Show them Jesus.
Not just “tell them about Jesus.” Show them Jesus.
How do we do that?
I’m part of a group at work that’s going through a study book called “Missional Essentials.” The book’s central focus is discovering what a life of mission looks like.
Isaiah 61:1-2 lays out the Messiah’s mission statement. At the outset of his public ministry, Jesus quotes the passage (Luke 4:18-19). So if we were to create a motivational poster, we’d use these bullet points:
- Bring good news to the poor.
- Comfort the brokenhearted.
- Proclaim that captives will be released.
- Proclaim that the blind will see and the oppressed will be set free.
- Tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
Familiar stuff. But later, Jesus makes his mission our mission: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21).
Back to the mission statement. Look at the verbs: Bring good news. Comfort. Proclaim. Tell.
See the clear connection to our roles as writers and editors?
If we ever doubt how we can show Jesus to readers, there’s our answer. Take readers to places where we can show God’s people doing anything on that list. Even if we haven’t physically been to the place ourselves, we can use reporting and interviewing skills to gather observations and details, and to build accurate scenes and dialogue.
That makes us messengers of the Gospel in a powerful way we might not have thought about before. We are telling previously untold stories of God at work. Sounds a lot like these instructions:
“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” — Psalms 96:3 (NLT)