Some times you can connect with a church or a worship service and you just feel the pastor has written or prepared this service with just you in mind. This is true, of course, just ask the pastor. But then there are times like in our service today, when you come to a realization that it isn’t a particular preacher or pastor, it isn’t the music or the person leading the service that makes you feel connected.
It is the underlying philosophy of the church as a whole, to actually follow the teachings of Christ, that makes it special. Don’t all churches do that? Hopefully, but each person is different and where you may connect (meaning a continued growth in Christ) in one place, you may not in another.
The Mission Field is Fluid
A recent message series called Fluid (see updates on the post at The Fluid Experience) got me thinking a little about the mission field of the church (of course the series is currently on missions, so its a good thing it didn’t get me thinking about baseball or something). Missions can often be an interesting subject in the church, with lots and lots of ideas on what it should or shouldn’t be, but it is a hard subject to ignore when it is throughout scripture.
John 20:21 So Jesus said the them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you“
What is often talked about is going to the mission field. Get your shots, passport updated, vacation days set up, and go to some far off place to do mission work. That is great, but what is sometimes neglected is how many different mission fields there actually are, and huge number can be done right now, right where you are in your walk today. No special training, no prep meetings, your set, just the way you are.
Some of us are outgoing, some shy, studious, knowledgeable, and so on, but all are given special spiritual gifts as Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 12
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge…
What you notice about this scripture is these gifts are different for each of us. That is because God made each of us in His image, but as individuals. This scripture above is usually used in the context of work or service within the church walls, but I also think it helps explain some of the differences of opinion we have on mission work as well.
It is important (in my opinion) to recognize the differences we each bring to the body of Christ as a whole, and how to use these differences. Where can they be best utilized and most effective. I have been to many churches that try to mold each Believer into a specific category, for a specific program of service or missions work. But not this time.
Local, Regional, National, and the World
Unfortunately I missed several weekends of the Fluid series, but one thing I have taken away from the last few weeks is their focus on missions is to be accomplished in a local area, regional, then national, and to the world. God brings different people into our lives each day, though our normal routine of life. We are not all meant to be missionaries in another country, but we are all missionaries.
Today it was brought home to a local (right where you are) field. This is something everyone can do, right now. Show God’s love for others right where you are, in the field or area of expertise you reside in every day.
Are We People of Action?
One of my all time favorite ways of showing God’s love for others is when you are at a fast food drive through and you pay for the persons meal behind you in line. There are countless examples, and it doesn’t have to be the same thing each time. What are your favorites for local, come as you are, mission work?