No Matter the Roughness of the Road

When we were in Africa, we got the privilege to be a part of Hausa Church one Sunday morning.  As we sat on the dusty porch with flies swarming us, I would hum along to whatever song our worship leader sang.  I knew one of the songs before I came, but the rest I just enjoyed listening and praying along.

One song they began to sing in Hausa, then they sang in English.  These were the words:

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“No One Else is Willing to Come Out Here”

I’m still processing all God did among us in West Africa.  In some ways, this was the hardest mission trip I have ever been on in the fact of the conditions and what it takes to get there.  In other ways, it was the easiest in that it was very simple in theory.  Our primary objective was to share the gospel.

When speaking to our partnering missionary, I told him how difficult it was to get to him.  I had to fly across the world.  Then drive across the country.  Then walk across the desert.  Then, I was where he wanted me.  He said, “This is frontline missions.  There’s a reason your church was the last one to visit me months ago.  No one else is willing to come out here.  It’s too far.  Too hard.”

It was interesting to find out that out of the 18 summer volunteers serving with them this summer, 6 of them are from North Side, 3 are from Brook Hills (David Platt’s church), and the rest are from different locations.  Out of all the Southern Baptist churches, only 2 “radical” churches (sorry for the pun) are willing to encourage their students to go there.  And that is the reason why we must continue to go.

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Updates from the Frontline

Last night, I shared a quote in our community group from a book I’m reading entitled Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis.  Interesting read about what these guys are doing with The Crowded House network of home churches in the UK.

Here’s the quote that woke me up concerning missions:

“If someone was being sent as a missionary to a hostile context overseas, our attitude would be something like this: We would expect to pray often for them.  We would expect progress in building relationships and sharing the gospel to be slow.  We would be excited by small steps – a gospel conversation here, an opportunity to get to know someone there.  We would thrive on regular updates from the front line.  But the truth is that the lives of many Christians in work, and play, are just like the life of that far-flung missionary!  They are lived out in tough environments where progress is often slow and many factors make evangelism extremely difficult.  The challenge is to make news from the staff canteen as valued as news from the overseas mission field.”  –Total Church, p. 36

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Christian Sightseeing is Not Missions

I’ve still been processing Sunday’s message and praying for the next step concerning our church’s involvement in the Great Commission.  Since we are studying missions this week, I have something that God has really been teaching me over the last year: Christian sightseeing is not missions!

Let me explain.  I think over the years, we have watered down missions so much that we classify doing anything that is overseas or with people of a different race as missions.  If you look at many job descriptions of mission trips these days, you will unfortunately see watered down weeks that ask Christians to do simple tasks in order that there is minimal exposure to the gospel.  Rarely do I see job descriptions that say, “Come and bring your church’s best evangelists to share the gospel.”  It is pass out this, pray for that, play with this, love on that – but we seem it extreme simply to share the gospel.

I think sometimes we get caught up in traveling the world in the name of Jesus rather than the Great Commission.

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