Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Does networking count as missions?

I spend a lot of my time in meetings and in the office doing email and phone calls.  Some days I wonder if all of this admin work and networking is making any global impact and if I should just drop all of the minutia of running an organization and just make disciples of nations.  This week I got to see a glimpse of some fruit from all of this administrative labor and it involved several people working together which wouldn't have happened without a lot of networking and building relationships with different ministries.

On Thursday, I was at a meeting where a lot of the ministries in our local context were sharing updates about what was going on in the community.  One of the leaders expressed concern about an Iraqi family who they have been pouring into for quite awhile who has decided to leave Atlanta and move to Jacksonville.  They were burdened about who was going to follow up on this family.  I told them that we just had two short term mission groups that came from JAX and fell in love with refugees and the idea of reaching out to the nations that have come here.  There is also another ministry that we have built a relationship with there that does a great job of teaching English and sharing the gospel.  So, I shot a few emails out and within 24 hours those ministries had touched base with an Iraqi church planter in the area that was going to follow up on the family.  It turns out that this Iraqi family from Atlanta moved ONE BLOCK AWAY from the Iraqi church planter in Jacksonville and a visit had already been scheduled! 

Now, that's the body of Christ working together for kingdom purposes.  I guess I will continue attending meetings, building relationships, networking with like-minded ministries, sending emails to people looking for direction, answering phone calls and coaching people into next steps for missions.  It seems that part of Paul's apostolic call was to make sure that there was good collaboration between the Colossians, Corinthians, Macedonians, etc. and to ensure that there were always people in place to continue discipleship in all the places where he planted the gospel.  He spent a bit of time writing as well, although most of his was from a jail cell, so I'll find comfort that all of this may be be making an eternal difference and that God is getting lots of glory as we are obedient to Him and people are coming into the kingdom.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What is the greatest mission field?

Some of Jesus' last words were to wait for the Holy Spirit to come and then to be his witnesses in Jerusalem AND Judea AND Samaria AND the ends of the earth.  It isn't an either/or commandment but a both/and proposition.  Jesus wanted his disciples to live out and preach the kingdom in all of those places.  I hear a lot of people say "why go to the ends of the earth when there is so much spiritual need right here in America" and I know us missionary types have been guilty of telling everyone that we all need to focus on the ends of the earth because America at least has a chance to receive Good News.  The truth is that the Great Commission should be translated "as you are going, make disciples...", so all mission fields are valid and important.

It think it really all boils down to intentionality and going where the Father says and doing as the Spirit leads.  I feel like if we were really in tune and listening to the Lord that there would be a lot more than 2% of the mission force working among unreached people groups in the 10/40 window and many more people at home living a missional lifestyle reaching out to neighbors, co-workers, and the foreigners that God has sent to live among us.  What would happen in the US and the ends of the earth if we did what Jesus said and waited for the Holy Spirit to come and then went out witnessing to the world everything we know about Christ and His kingdom in Jerusalem AND Judea AND Samaria AND the ends of the earth?  Let's be missional; the time is short and we only get one life to steward well.