Church planter Nate Templin of Inside Out Church said during one of the first times we met him, “If you guys could make even just one relationship with someone who doesn’t know Christ, then you have done your job.”
He did not mean that we are to limit ourselves to only one relationship this summer. Rather, he would prefer that we make one genuine, lasting friendship with a lost person that could impact them for eternity than a multiple surface-level friendships that we do not take the time to invest in. The goal is ultimately to find those who would never normally set foot into a church building to bring them the redeeming love and truth of Christ to create a community of new believers that will spread out sharing their story. Investing in one person has a long-term effect that will last after we are gone so that the truth will continue to spread. Just one person could multiply into two, two could multiply into four, four into eight, and so on having such a greater impact on for God’s kingdom reaching far beyond us.
With only 45 percent of the Fort Collins’ population having any faith involvement whatsoever and the overall faith receptivity at a very low, there is no way that we could even make a dent in that staggering statistic in our short time this summer. However, we can touch at least one life through the grace of God, and that person will be here for the long term to spread truth to more people in this area.
God brought one of Jesus’ parables to mind that really helped me better understand why I should value even just one life being changed. Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7. In this parable a shepherd leaves 99 of his sheep to find the one that was lost. When he finally finds him, he brings him back to his neighbors and rejoices that he has been saved. He compares this to how much more joy there is in heaven over one lost soul repenting than over countless people who are “righteous” that feel no need to repent. Just one sheep.
So after hearing that spoken by a fellow Christ-follower and reading the parable in the lost sheep in God’s word, my attitude in what I am here for this summer has been shaped. Not only that but I know that I will never be able to go back to life as before without applying this. I do not have to be in Fort Collins, Colo. God’s love for each of his lost sheep extends to every area. No matter where God calls me, I can never belittle the immeasurable value of even just one life.
Student missionary correspondent Amber Cassady, a communications student at Texas A&M University in College Station, is serving in Loveland, Colo., with Go Now Missions.