Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter.
Dear Missions Participant,
If you are a pastor, leader, or a participant in missions here are some words of encouragement. I have had to filter these through my heart as well. This post rose out of a quick vision trip I took to Guatemala to work with a reputable organization.
1. Why are you going?
This is the first question to ask oneself. Is the trip for my agenda and me, or for Christ? The answer to the question may not be easy to ascertain, but true contemplation may help derive the truth. Do we want to pursue international missions as an ego driven response to the Great Commission? Meaning, “hey look at me and what I am doing!” This is not good, in case you were wondering.
2. Are you willing to do whatever is asked?
How often does the word flexibility come in to play for missions. While I was out of the country, I was standing beside the head missionary and listening to conversations he was having. One after the other was with a team leader in the states, DEMANDING certain ministry locations or tasks. Time after time, this missionary would give solid rational for a change of venue or responsibility. And time after time, the team leader would get upset and threaten to back out. Why in the world would we not be willing to just go and serve? If you partner with a mission organization or individual missionary, then do whatever they ask you to do. If you can’t go along with it, then just respectfully find somewhere else to go.
3. Where is the servant heart?
When we leave to go, we are going as servants. Complaining is not part of servant hood. If the conditions are not perfect, or what you are used to, then just be thankful that God decided to use you to spread the Gospel. We must realize that we are mere vessels/instruments that God uses. He does not need us to accomplish this, but He chose and chooses to use us. We should then respond with servant hearts.
There is not a reason to over spiritualize missions; it is about serving. It is serving the body of Christ; it is serving the missions’ organization or missionary. It is serving the people we are going to work with. It is all about serving! If we have an attitude of selfishness or we driven by our agenda, then we lose the servant hood of missions.
As you go and do whatever it is that you are doing, what do you seek to accomplish? Are you looking to build homes, churches, or other buildings? Are you looking to have 500 kids in a VBS or backyard bible club? Are you training leadership to equip the saints? All of these are not bad, but if they are not lead with a desire to MAKE DISCIPLES, then they are selfish desires driven for a man-centered missional approach. As we go, we must view EVERY aspect and opportunity as a disciple making opportunity. In doing that, we are getting near to the heart of the biblical center of missions.