"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the changing/returning face of missions and ministry

When we went to MTI I was worried that I would be the only one without a Bible college education or Seminary degree. What I found was I was in the majority. Actually only a few had the plaque on the wall. I found it interesting and at the time wondered why it was that way? I’m beginning to see some possibilities as to why the Lord is calling those who are not already involved in occupational ministry. Look at the Gospels, who did Jesus call? Fishermen, zealots, laborers. None of the first He called where involved in occupational ministry, actually some of these guys were pretty rough characters. Not the most sophisticated or educated. Why didn’t He first call any of the Pharisees, or Sadducees or any of the other religious leaders? Later there was Saul, a religious leader that killed believers. They had the knowledge but they did not have the heart. It was all about them, not about GOD. It is no different today. In dealing with people and other organizations/agencies, the ones that are often the most helpful (not always) are the ones that have not been in the “business” most of there life. What I am seeing is that a lot of people are more dedicated to their mission agency or denomination than they are to Christ. Our experience with missionaries in the field has been very positive so far. They are caring, friendly, and helpful no matter what organization they are a part of. But that is the difference between there and here. (There have been some on this side that have been helpful.) They understand what it takes to make it in the field and what it costs (personally). The people here that have not done it don’t get it and don’t understand. They think they do but the fact is they view everything through the lens of this culture. You can not do that there. (You cannot do it here really either, look around we are a multi-cultural society.) If you do you are in for a world of frustration. Often what comes out of the agencies in the states is not necessarily what is happening and working on the ground where they are.
I also see that we have done a pretty good job of transplanting our form of church or should I say, denominational, divide. For some reason we all seem to think we each need to cover every aspect of ministry instead of working together to better enhance our effort and be effective. I think we are often doing exactly what satan wants: wasting time, resources, energy- doing something that our neighbor is doing and doing effectively. Instead of partnering and working together as the body of Christ should. Why can we not do that? Simple: the sin of pride in our churches and mission agencies, and in ourselves. We want to be the end all and be all, not for GOD’s glory but for our own-whether church, denomination, mission agency, or personally. It is all the same sin- pride.
So what is the answer? To humble ourselves and work together, to believe and live out Scripture that we are one body and we serve the same Christ.
(this was written just after we returned from our SPLICE training in MTI-sometime near the beginning of 2008)

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