So… About a month has passed since Aaron and I touched down on U.S. soil after our year away in Cambodia. So much has happened in that time: time with family, unpacking, settling in, stomach adjustments, friend parties, and starting work.
I have accepted a position as Student Ministry Coordinator at Crossroads Community Church, and am elated that my position keeps me involved in the lives of younger people, specifically the lives of teenage girls and missions.
Which is why I am writing today: any time I have the privilege of writing a blog concerning my position at Crossroads, missions or girls’ struggles, I will be reposting it on my personal blog under the title of “Behind the Desk.”
To my delight, our first series in Student Ministries, throughout the month of September, is about Missions, and my first blog post follows accordingly:
Behind the Desk: Are You Willing?
Reblogged from the Crossroads Blog
“We must move beyond an anemic view of our faith as something only personal and private, with no public dimension, and instead see it as the source of power that can change the world.”
For the month of September, Student Ministry at Crossroads is taking a month to revisit the concept of missions. Looking at questions like, “What is missions?”, “Why does God call me to be concerned with the needs of the world?”, “What is the difference between evangelism and meeting physical needs?”, and “What can I do?”, we are excited to push students to connect the dots between their inner spiritual growth, and outwardly serving the world around them.
The concept of “missions” should not be reserved exclusively for international experiences, although at times it seems issues of poverty and inequality show themselves more obviously in multicultural situations. But there are endless opportunities within the United States, our communities and our everyday lives to not only act within a missions mindset, but also to combat some of the “global issues” we often think of as existing solely in Third World Countries around the world.
Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV)
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
Often when we look at this passage of scripture, which so beautifully depicts an evangelism that ministers to both spiritual and physical needs, we may nod in agreement and consider ourselves doing a pretty good job at reaching out to those around us. But if we are a little more honest with ourselves, might we not actually fall more in line with the “you” described by Richard Stearns’ in his book The Hole in our Gospel?
“For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved. (RESV - Richard E. Stearns Version)”
Opportunities to combat issues such as poverty, sex trafficking, slavery, homelessness, and injustice (to name a few) surround us each and every day.
When Mother Teresa was approached and asked what one can do to change the world for the better, her reply was simple and perfect. She merely stated, “Just do the thing that’s in front of you.”
God has placed us all in a perfectly unique situation, with unique opportunities and relationships. At times, that may look like Mansfield, Ohio, and at other times - as was true in my life - that may look like Battambang, Cambodia.
But if there was one overarching lesson I brought home with me after working for a year in Cambodia, it was how strikingly similar so many of the issues and needs were in Cambodia’s foreign culture as were in my hometown of Mansfield.
The missions field is all around us, and it is time for us all to take a serious and honest look at our lives, and to ask if we are taking the “input” that we are receiving from the Lord into our lives, and turning it into the “output” that the Lord is desiring to see in the world around us.
It all begins with an understanding that the Great Commission applies to us all, and that it can take place in our backyard, along with the other side of the world.
Are you willing?
“It’s not what you believe that counts; it’s what you believe enough to do.”