Statistics. Demographics.Lostness. Evangelization.Need. Opportunity.Resources. Support.Trends. Movements. Reaction.Creativity. Good ideas.Common sense.Duty. Tradition.Ease. Difficulty.Guilt, pity, fear.Passion, compassion, desire.
We are constantly tempted to allow these things to dictate our missions activities. In many cases, these are the motives that were used to recruit us into sacrificial giving and to service. We all participate in different ways and for different reasons, but the things listed above can easily get us “ahead of God” and out of tune with what He is doing. As far as I can tell, the best- the only- sure foundation for how to know what missions is and how it ought to be done in my context is this:
Step-by-step obedience to the Spirit of the Most High God.
God called me to missions in Western Europe by giving me a vision for what He could (would?) do among the people here. I was excited about being part of God’s interaction with the postmodern, postchristian people of Europe. I really believed that God was going to start a church planting movement here, and I trusted that He was going to use me to somehow be part of that. That certainty of calling and purpose is what has kept me on the field.
But something is bothering me.
We still haven’t seen it. Despite our efforts, prayers, and desires, we have yet to see God move in the ways we envisioned years ago. No city-wide house church networks. No major unity movements among the believers here. Years of studying the language and culture, sowing the gospel, building relationships, and speaking truth into people’s lives hasn’t produced the kind of fruit I thought we were called to.
Don’t get me wrong; I know that the work isn’t something that we do, and that God will do His will in His sovereign timing. Please don’t remind me of William Carey or Adoniram Judson. I’m not discouraged about the number of people who are being saved.
I’ve spent months in introspective prayer and meditation, asking God if there might be sin in my life, or if my actions might be disqualifying me from His service. I’m begging Him to use me. I’m open to whatever He has for us.
I guess I’m just a little disappointed, that’s all.