In the past year, I have given a great deal of thought time to the importance of being sent. I won’t use this space to bore you with those thoughts, but I am considering writing on this in some form in the coming years as I believe it will continue to develop. But for the purposes of updating everyone, I wanted to talk about our final time with Life Church yesterday.
I came home from South Africa with one pressing desire: to solidify our relationship with Life Church and its leadership. It’s crucial for us to have a family that we can call on when things get hard on the field. It’s crucial to know we have a church standing behind us and holding us up in a systematic sort of way. Maybe that’s not important to every missionary, but it is to me. I think we’re stronger when we’re sent rather than when we just leave. I think it’s a biblical model for missions. I think it does something profound for the church that does the sending as much as it does for the ones being sent.
Yesterday, having thought we would have been gone by now, we didn’t have anywhere else to go and speak. The United Brethren endorsement is still too new to really get us moving too far with that yet, so we were free to go and worship with the folks at Life. Ezra’s friends are all there, so of course, he was stoked. When we arrived, we were greeted by the senior pastor and the board member in charge of missions and they asked us to come up at the front of the service to be prayed over. I wasn’t expecting that, but it felt really good to be covered like this. To stand with my old teammate and proclaim our common vision: to reach the world for Jesus… a priceless moment for sure.
Then the worship team led us in a pretty amazing time of worship. I love going into a service where I don’t know the words to songs… it makes me sit back and reflect on what I am actually saying. And there was a freshness to it. Mike’s message was on. He just nailed it, I don’t know how else to describe it. Then getting to see everyone one final time… it was priceless. We were the last to leave the building. It felt good to walk out knowing that we have a body of people that call us theirs. To be an extension of a family… to be sent… to be known by a community… you can’t really define the power of this.
One of our Nieu Communities colleagues at our San Diego site wrote a song about the power of being sent. While I don’t recall all the words to the song, the basic idea is this: how can we go if we are not sent? I believe that the power of being sent and of being supported makes our mission possible. It is this system that brings hope to the world. No other system or stimulus package can give the world the hope it needs. May the kingdom of heaven come near as we partner together in mission to the world. May we all continue to draw close over the years ahead as we push deeply into the mission God has called each of us to partner in.