Friday, February 16, 2007

Missions

Hello All,

Part of our preparation to go out onto the mission field, was to attend the Perspectives course which is held at William Carey University in Pasadena. You can check their website out here. Before I took this particular course, I had a very one dimensional view about what missions was. I had one model in mind, namely a church planting transplant of one culture to another. The "if only they could be more like us" attitude was what I subscribed to. This is not to say that this is what church planters believe or think. It is simply the way I thought.

Getting to participate in the Perspectives course really opened my eyes to what people were doing on the mission field. Each day, a new instructor came in and spoke about their stories. Such incredible diversity I had never imagined possible when speaking about missions. Missions, the term, became a catch all phrase for all sorts of activities. There were stories about setting up teas for Bedouins on the back of trucks near watering holes and teaching English in communist countries, at the request of the government! There were still other stories about providing shovels for the digging of new water sources in the desert, in the name of Jesus!

The stories all served a purpose. Each person used their giftings and talents as a natural seque into someone else's culture. When relationships had been established, then true evangelism and discipleship could take place. I heard this again just this morning, right here in our own backyard. There are people whose ministry begins at 3 AM every morning. These particular people minister to the pimps and prostitutes of Hollywood, by reaching out with the love of Jesus to a group of people who will not likely join a church anytime soon.

The concept of mission has become so broad today that you will have to work NOT to be involved, rather than the opposite being true. Mission is happening all around us. Let me explain how.

In the Bible, there are 4 modes of mission. First, there are people who have been sent and go willingly. Prophets in the Old Testament for example, were sent to deliver a message to a given group of people. Some went willingly. We went willingly to Spain! However, some are sent and go unwillingly! One might consider Jonah in this category biblically or a soldier in Iraq presently! Then, there are the ones that come from a far away land. There are willing migrants, much like the mixed multitude of the Exodus or our friends from south of the border today. There are also people who come unwillingly, conquered people in the Old Testament and refugees from other war torn nations today.

The point is that everywhere we look, a mission field is right there. We live in a diverse land, with representatives of nations right next door to us! Have you ever thought of your neighbors in this way? I have Filipino neighbors. I believe them to be representative of their nation. As we look at people on the mission field in foreign lands, we recognize that they are planted among people who are not their own. And while their objective is to reach that nation with the message of the gospel, their method may be unique.

Part of supporting these wonderful people, is to trust them and pray for their vision to be from the Lord. So many missionaries (none that I know personally) have been questioned about their methods and have been pressured to produce evangelistic results. While I would never be one to push for absolute autonomy of a missionary, (I believe that accountability is needed everywhere!) I would never be one to try and control or manipulate a man or woman of God who has given themselves over to a foreign mission assignment. Many are careful and discerning on purpose and since the danger or risk is theirs, I say lend support!

And I also say that our fields are just as ripe for harvest. The mission bell is being heard everywhere. The return of Christ draws ever more close. Let us be faithful to His call, wherever He may have us planted.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

2 comments:

jason dean said...

awesome!! let's serve the Lord wherever we are..

Patty said...

Amen Brotha!