Between Christmas and New Years I had the privilege of attending the CROSS Conference in Kentucky-a new missions conference for college students focusing on bringing attention to the cross cultural needs of unengaged and unreached people groups.
I’m going to be honest with you here. Normally at missions presentations or conferences, I end up walking away from said event full of –not the desire to go or serve-but full of guilt. Heatedly they stand before us, waging their fingers, condemning us for frivolous spending and living here in America when thousands upon thousands of people are: insert any host of horrible things that go on on this repulsive planet. I try and hide my Starbucks cups, and even more try and hide my obvious discomfort with the idea that I might be “called”.
This conference was different.
Don’t get me wrong. Facts were still presented. The need is real. The need is great.
But I found not anger and coercion on the lips of the speakers, but instead passion and gratitude. It is only from a heart overflowing with thankfulness for salvation and a true comprehension of the reality of eternity that anyone should be a missionary. Not pressure to be a “super-Christian-missionary” or because of a “love for culture” –but because of a love for THE GOSPEL, a desire to go, and the ability to go. This was articulated and praised so consistently and so clearly. Missions is a vital, wonderful, incredible part of the Christian life, and I am so thankful for this conference for reminding me of it’s beauty.
I could literally type for days on all the different thoughts and convictions I experienced during those three days (I took over 30 pages of notes…) but for time’s sake I’ll share just one takeaway with you today.
It’s called the 747 concept-and it is simply this: Don’t imagine for a minute that if you were to decide to go do missions cross culturally that you would board a 747, fly across an ocean, and sometime between the first passing out of peanuts and the final descent, a miraculous-magical-supernatural-holy spirit-intervention would happen inside of you. Don’t think that you’ll automatically become comfortable sharing the gospel with the bread lady, and your neighbor, and that you’ll of course know how to disciple and successfully lead Bible Studies and prayer groups. Here’s the thing:
If you are not doing it here-you will not do it there.
And if you are not doing it here or there-you are in sin.
That is me! I seriously think that if I chose to spread the gospel in a foreign land-that I’d go all Nike on myself and “Just Do It”! But if I do not do it here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave-why do I think I would consistently do it well somewhere where I am an alien?
So the take away is this-if you (and your local church) feel that you are called to the missions field, make sure you are doing here what you want to be doing there. America is the melting pot-you can find people from all over the world to meet with and talk to to understand their culture, practice speaking their language, and invest in!
And if you are not a “goer” but a “sender”, here are two things for you, 1.) You are just as responsible for making disciples as a missionary-so get your rear in gear and minister the way God has equipped you to! 2.) Give ridiculously. Work hard. Earn lots of money! So you can give more to the spread of gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation!!
This post requires action! Are you going to be more intentional with who and how you disciple? Pray for evangelistic opportunities? Re-vamp your budget to give more? All the above? 🙂