The Most Important Thing in Missions (Sharing Our Story with CBC — Part 3)
Finally, I’m concluding this series. As I wrote over 2000 words in these 3 posts, I’m amazed that I was able to share all of this in 12 minutes at CBC – Savannah. I could be an auctioneer.
In the last two posts, I explained the Context for Hopelessness in Allendale and then how we can engage that hopelessness through true hospitality and incarnation. I will conclude this topic with a quick explanation of missions done well, then a few examples of “random” opportunities to teach, and then some additional inspiration for you.
Missions Done Well
For missions and being missional, the goal must never be the event or the project or the program. Those are good things, but life change doesn’t happen by a project or program all by itself.
The primary means of missions is engaging others in meaningful relationships, for the purpose of helping others worship God. Life change always happens best in the context of community.
When it comes to “missions” programs, most churches use the relationship as the means to get the project done. They connect with certain people, get the team there and back home, and then they are happy. But this is wrong, and often harmful in the long-run.
Instead, churches should use the project or event as the excuse to build relationships. The goal is the relationship, and the project is the way to easily get people together.
We need to engage others where they are. Then, don’t focus on solving their problem, because YOU CAN’T. Don’t just do things for people. Move towards their pain and the mess of their life, and then hold out Jesus.
Remember that it’s not about your physical gifts or your presents. It’s about your time and your presence.
“Random” Opportunities to Connect and to Teach
When we have done our spring break camps in Allendale (we have round 3 beginning today!!), they were never really about soccer or games or arts and crafts. They were about relationships.
When families come into town (such as the Dad and some of the children in the picture above), and adults and teens and kids befriend other adults and teens and kids, we call that success. And I see success when people stay in touch and see each other, outside of anything I do to connect people.
And then you look at times when we’ve had “random” conversations, whether about Our Engagement or with my football players after football practice or on a trip to the mountains. What we’ve learned is that I would never be able to get these kids’ attention if I sat them down and said, “Let me tell you why you shouldn’t live with your girlfriend before you’re married,” and “Here’s 5 reasons why you need to get an education and job, and then take care of your family.”
Some of the best teaching moments come as conversations during the normal flow of life. And that can only happen when you invest your time.
During the same morning at church, before I shared our story, another couple shared their adoption experiences. (They have four biological children, and are about to adopt their fourth special needs child.) Their story is inspiring and engaging, and you should listen to it on the sermon podcast, or check out their blog.
Here are a couple of quotes from their talk that inspired me:
“People who’ve been given the gift of life, but not the gift of love, that’s who we need to stand up for.”
“I don’t want my kids to pursue the American dream. I want them to pursue God’s dream.”
But above my story or this family’s story, we should be inspired by Jesus. What He did was simple (to Him), but costly and messy. Taking on the flesh cost Him in terms of being humbled (Philippians 2:6-7). And going to the cross to bear our wrath cost Him His life (verse 8).
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” II Corinthians 8:9
Through Jesus’ willing poverty, we have a full hope and have received everything we need. And we are called to live out that same incarnation.
So what about you? What do you need to do to get involved, to invest your time? What is God showing you?
- How to Do Short-Term Missions Well
- 2 Common Mistakes in Missions
- 6 Ways You Can Be Missional in 2013
- Stop Serving the Poor?
- My Inspiration
- The Surprisingly Simple Way You Can Start Living on Mission for God
- The Gospel Gives Me a Heart for the Poor
- Why Our Spring Break Camp Was a Success