When we set out on our journey 11 days ago, it had been 5 years since my last venture out of the country. Between May, 2006 and July, 2007 I had been to Turkey, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Singapore and Indonesia. 5 countries in 14 months brought me to a point of exhaustion, not to mention I never wanted to see an airplane again. While I racked up a ton of frequent flyer miles, the thought of another international trip was the furthest thing away from my interest level.
About a year ago, I started getting the itch again, though I wasn’t sure when it was going to happen. I knew something was amiss in my connection to the Great Commission and couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but my passion for global missions had started to wane somewhat. I could preach it because I knew it to be true according to the scripture but deep down I knew I had to get back on the field in order to stoke the flames again.
While I am not ready to call it a career at The Fountain and take the ministry overseas, fresh perspective is always a good thing. I said early on in my trip blogs that the Great commission is local, regional and global. There’s no scriptural way around it and it’s not optional for believers. The only way the gospel has spread throughout the centuries and survived godless dictators and cultures uninviting to the good news is because men and women took Christ’s command seriously. We must still take it seriously.
Over the last 2 years I have done my best to impart to my congregation this profound truth and I believe the best way to understand what God is doing locally and regionally is to understand what He is doing globally. The reverse is also true. To understand what God is doing globally we must understand what He is doing locally and regionally. It all blends together and forms an unbreakable 3-fold cord.
So what does all this mean?
Locally and regionally it means leveraging your circle of influence. Invest in relationships with those who don’t profess Christ and invite them to experience what God is doing at The Fountain or wherever your home church may be. Pray that God gives you true discernment of our culture instead of reacting to culture based on what you see in the news. Learn in a grater way how to live in the world but not of it. Very soon I will be doing a series on the life of Daniel. Hopefully that series will help you do this.
Globally it means praying that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers, especially in the fields we are in relationship with as a church : Turkey, Tanzania, Israel, Navajo Nation, Foster Care and Morocco. Too often we only pray for what’s right in front of us when there are so many billions of people who need the gospel. In America it’s hard to fathom that there are nations with little or no Christian influence. While things may be testy at home right now, we should all drop to our knees and thank God we live in a nation like the United States.
In closing out this trip blog, let me say that if you ever have an opportunity to travel outside the U.S. on a missions endeavor, take it. I guarantee it will change your life, your perspective on the Great Commission, and expand your prayer life. Go once and you won’t want to wait five years to go again.