Around the time of his sixtieth birthday, missionary Mike Latsko asked God what he should do next. He had already spent most of his life serving the Lord, as a missionary to France, as a pastor, and as a facilitator of partnerships for Frontiers. But Mike didn’t want to be complacent and asked God for a vision.
“I was just asking the Lord, ‘If you were to give me another two years, knowing that I’m closer to the end of my career in Your service than I am to the beginning, how would I finish up? How could I complete the assignment?’” Mike shared during a recent episode of Indigitous CoffeeTalks.
After getting some clarity from the Lord, Mike decided that he wants to dedicate the rest of his ministry career to raising awareness of, praying for, and serving the most unengaged unreached people groups in the world. Part of that work is serving on the steering team of a ministry network called Vision 5:9.
How ministry has changed over time
When Mike first started his ministry career, digital missions didn’t exist. The internet was in its infancy and social media and smartphones hadn’t been invented. The invention of those technologies and their use in ministry has been a game changer and has had a profound impact on world missions.
“We can bring the Gospel, we can bring really cool video, animation, and gaming right to people wherever they are,” Mike says. “The resources that workers have, whether from closeby or far away, through digital media and technology is just off the charts beyond what we had even five to ten years ago.”
Meanwhile, with advances in data sciences, we now have so much more information about what God is doing, people’s needs, where they are on their journey with God, and how to offer them a relevant next step. That information is also much more precise than ever before.
“As recently as ten years ago, we were content with countrywide data,” Mike says. But missions organizations now have data of what the Lord is doing down to different neighborhoods of a specific city or village. They can see where the JESUS Film has been shown, where the missional gaps are, where certain content in certain languages are needed, and more. “To be able to mobilize the Lord’s people with that kind of specificity … is great news for the Kingdom.”
The future of missions
As he looks to the future, Mike thinks the next important wave of technology in missions will be in training. And he thinks that movements like Indigitous could be key. “You and your friends I believe in the next five to ten years will help us think more innovatively about how to bring in-time training for disciple making through digital media, arts, and technology in a way that hasn’t been possible before.”
As he looks at digital missions movements like Indigitous, Mike gets excited for the future. “I believe in you and your tribe,” Mike says. “The future is yours. Let’s bless that and say that all of the strengths that you and your friends are going to have … will take us farther until the Lord returns. For us old-timers, it’s a great day to be alive and passing the baton.”
Reaching the unreached
Even with modern technology, reaching those unreached people groups isn’t easy. More help is needed. Back when Jesus walked the earth, he lamented, “the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). The same is true now. All Christians are called to share the Gospel, to become one of those laborers, but the form of service won’t be the same for everyone.
God created each of us with certain interests, passions, and talents. The best way to serve God is to find a way that fits the way He designed you. “However He’s wired us, we’re happiest when we live in it. And we’re increasingly unhappy when we try to be something that we’re not,” Mike says.
To help people find their best contribution to missions, Mike asks people these questions:
- What’s your burden? What are you passionate about?
- What’s your niche?
- What’s your gift?
Once those questions are answered, it’s best to take time in prayer to ask God for guidance. “Lord, how do I leverage how You’ve made me to make a difference?” Mike says.
We encourage everyone to ask themselves those questions, ask God for how to serve Him, and look for opportunities. If you still need help, we’d love to talk through it with you.