Hopefully you were able to participate in this past weekend’s missions events. Both Saturday night and Sunday morning we were treated with reports and updates from various missionaries. So much good stuff … so many things to process … so many things to pray for. Not only did we hear from missionaries this past weekend, but the prior Sunday we heard from John and Prisy Stodghill. And to continue with a missions emphasis, Community will participate in this week’s Bangladesh Partnership meeting in B’ham to support the work of the Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. If you’re like me the question at this point is, “Where do I go from here?”
Surely work the Stodghills do with Muslims is an incredible and important work. You mustn’t underestimate the significance of the training Brad Taylor gives to pastors in South America, Africa, and India. Nobody would suggest that the work Lifeline does to support and build families is not of great importance. Don’t forget the amazing ministry Raul Pacheco has with International students at Troy University. Laura Morgan’s support and encouragement of missionaries around the world is extremely needed and beneficial. Adam Venable’s work on the campus of UAB is reaching students that will impact the world in so many ways. The Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh is enjoying healthy growth in the 8th most populated nation in the world. My work in evangelism puts me on the front line with unbelievers and also in a place to train other pastors and churches.
So which of these ministries / missionaries is doing the most important work? Which mission should you focus on and devote yourself to? Which mission work has the most potential to change the world?
Are you thoroughly confused yet? Most Christians are when it comes to missions. We know we should be doing something mission related but don’t know exactly what. So, we wait until we have a clearer vision. Maybe we should go overseas … or perhaps get involved in a local mission … or likely get some training before we do anything … or probably before we do anything we need to spend a season praying and seeking counsel … or maybe we should just get plugged in to something the church is already doing … yet there are so many other needs in the community and world … so we wait a bit longer for the vision to become clearer and THEN we’ll start. The vision thing ends up taking too long to figure out, so we wait some more. This cycle repeats itself over and over and we seldom actually ever get around to doing mission work, but hopefully one day we will. It’s sort of a paralysis by analysis type thing. I’m really not trying to be too hard on anyone, but just stating the reality of how the average Christian processes the idea of mission.
So the question remains, “Where do we go from here?” I’d suggest a couple of really simple things. The first is whatever you’re involved in today is what and where God has called you. You really don’t have to wait around for a clearer vision of loving your neighbor, serving your co-worker, encouraging your fellow student, greeting a stranger, showing grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it, offering support to the broken-hearted, being merciful to the poor, helping to bring justice to the oppressed, announcing the good news of Jesus to the unbeliever, etc. Whatever is in front of you today is your God-ordained mission field and you are God’s ambassador. So press forward in your weakness, uncertainty, fear, insecurity, and timidity yet know that God uses such people to accomplish the amazing work of mission. I assure you that every missionary you admire wrestles with the exact same issues of feeling weak and insignificant. But Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth repeatedly reminds us that his weakness provides the context for God’s strength to be displayed. The second suggestion is also simple … let God handle the big vision thing. Perhaps He will call some of us to go overseas. Perhaps He will mobilize some of us to be more involved in local community missions. Perhaps He will lead some of us to get more training. But I contend that as we’re engaged in doing daily mission where we already are, those bigger vision related issues seem to just come … not naturally, but rather super-naturally through the work of the Holy Spirit.
So today, engage in ministry where you are. God has some divine appointments already scheduled for you throughout the day. Don’t neglect them.