Within the Christian Church the phrase ‘go on missions’ has been used a lot. Perhaps another way to write this would be to ‘go on an adventure’. Within the Church they would both indicate that we are to do the adventure or mission WITH God.
Typically people gather from a church or different churches and go to another country to do a variety of God activities. Build houses for people, clean a church, help at a camp, run a bible school for kids, day camps, share their testimony etc. It is these experiences that are life changing. We encounter God in powerful ways, we see complete strangers overcome with the emotion of the gift of love – from people across the globe. That someone would love so deeply – that they would travel to help an unknown people!
Years ago, when I started youth pastoring, I felt the pressure to take my youth on one of these excursions. Remember I love adventures, I love the idea of traveling, I love the idea of helping people, I love the idea of the unknown. But I was unsettled!
What could possibly be wrong?
This is such a great idea.
Everyone should go on missions, right?
Lives are changed!
All true – but I was still unsettled. So what do you do when you are unsettled? Keep going? stop? Use logic and decide?
NOPE! Bring it before God. Even better, bring it before God with a group of people who also love God. Seek him, search his heart, wonder with him. Don’t decide to just go forward on a whim!
side note: It could easily be possible that you live a life of fear, anxiety, nervousness etc. That is something God wants to continue to work on within you – but this is why we gather some people together with us. Perhaps the ‘unsettledness’ in you regarding a decision or an idea – is just that – fear! Well, then discern that and walk through it. But if there is an unsettling. Stop and seek God – find out what the hesitation is!
I started to wonder and explore. It often takes me months to sort through something that is unsettling for me. Usually because the implications are potentially huge – and I want to make sure that I have sorted through all the hidden things as well. So I will pray on my own, talk with others, pray with others and wait on God.
So why was i unsettled about taking people on missions? A verse came to mind quickly. Jesus talking to his disciples in Acts 1. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” I don’t know why this verse stuck out so much – but I heard my Dad’s translation of the verse as well. This means you start being a witness as close to home as possible – FIRST!!
This idea ran through my mind a lot. In fact, we are teaching a similar principle at Anchor Point in regards to FIRST loving God – and everything comes out of that. Get the order or priorities right. So perhaps we weren’t supposed to take people on ‘missions’ across the globe. What if we were to be on mission at home!! Start HERE!
And this is where all of the hidden motives started to shine. There were all sorts who jumped on board right away! We were excited! It was going to cost less, we would give time to loving our friends, praying for our friends etc. But there were many that were frustrated. Truth be told – they didn’t really care about loving the people across the globe. They wanted to go on an adventure and a trip! (and that is ok – lets just not call it a mission trip – lets call it a focused holiday)!
Anyway, this changed things. I realized that people were willing to invest all sorts of time and money to go away – but to take holidays at home – to do the same thing with people that we already knew and had relationship with – almost unheard of. It was like we became afraid of ‘loving our neighbors’. What was there to be afraid of?
You can’t leave your neighbor in 10 days when the mission is done. You continue to live beside each other. You become accountable in your ‘witness’ as a follower of Jesus. If they have heard you lashing out at your children or your spouse sometime in the last few months; or saw you get angry at a neighbor; or gossipped about someone down the street – you begin to feel a bit sheepish! in fact the ‘witness’ ain’t so good 🙂
But that is exactly the point. People aren’t looking for perfect people to be friends with – they want real and honest people. When our neighbors know the good, bad and ugly – that is not all bad. It is only bad when we pretend that we are really ‘godly’ and act more like the devil! The double-mindedness is awful.
Perhaps this is why we are supposed to be a witness as close to home as possible – FIRST. So that we are forced to grow and evaluate our walks with God. It is easy to put on a good front for 10 days on an adventure in another part of the world with people you will never see again. But how about next door!
What would happen if people began to get excited about holidays – because we would take 2 weeks off work to help our neighbors! Help them build a home, clear their snow, invite them in for dinner, start a garden together, babysit each others kids etc. What if we were neighbors that loved each other?
Imagine what this would do for us! It would be a gift to reveal our hidden motives! It would be a place to be humble where we need to go to our neighbors and apologize for our behavior. It would be a joy to drive into the community at the end of the day and see who is outside – just wanting to say hello! It would make coming home exciting.
How about beyond that? If someone on your street got sick or was hospitalized – who would know? If you knew your neighbors – and you all cared for each other – imagine the care that could be given. Someone to bring meals, someone to cut grass, someone to visit, someone to garden, someone to bring in the mail etc. Neighbors being Neighbors!
I can imagine that if there was a community like this – everyone in that community would be talking about it everywhere! Because we all want to be loved and known. And no better place than the people that we meet and see every day! No plans needed, no agenda – just neighbors.
I see it kind of like dating or family. When you are dating someone – you get yourself presentable, knowing where you are going and likely what you are going to do together. At the end of your couple of hours together – you each go home and get into your ‘natural’ environment. A place where you are comfortable – a place we call home. When people get married – we see it all!!! This was Gods great design. He wanted us to be together and live closely among people because it causes us to grow. You can’t pretend anymore! People are in your business!! You need to communicate, learn to fight, learn to make up, find out your likes and dislikes etc.
I think it is time that we begin ‘missions’ at home (Jerusalem). Its good for us!
Start by praying for one or two neighbors each day! If you get this far in the blog – fire me a message and let me know who you are praying for and what street they live on. I will start a list of names and people – and will start praying with you :). I am going to set up a map in my prayer loft and pin people we are praying for 🙂
Have a wonderful day!