Missions once referred to an adventure to another country. It meant engaging a different culture. Different language. Different economic situation. And it meant doing so with the purpose of bringing God’s hope into new contexts.
I’m learning that we can take the same explanation of “missions” and experience it closer to home. Minus the visa to another country, we can engage every element of missions in the city we live in. If not your city, then a city within driving distance.
I’m not advocating that we should stop doing missions in countries far away. I’m not saying it’s a waste of time or money for missionaries to travel around the world to be catalysts for God’s Kingdom in new lands and among new people. It’s not time to stop sending missionaries to all corners of the world. God’s Kingdom needs to come there (wherever “there” is) as much as it does here.
I am learning, though, that none of us have an excuse to say we can’t be a missionary. It is no longer true (it never really was true) that you need to go far away to do missions. We can drive to a mission opportunity in less than 60 minutes.
It’s happening in our own church.
Meet Chuck. He is a seventy-something year old who spent most of his life working a blue collar job in rural Pennsylvania.
Meet Brett. He is a twenty-something year old who has lived in one town his entire life. He is married with four young children, including twins. He spends much of his time leading worship at his local church.
Meet Patty. She is a twenty-something year old who recently moved to the area from the Midwest. Her husband is a doctor and they have have two young children. She spends most of her time caring for her children, and part of her time volunteering with local non-profit organizations.
Meet RJ, Scotty, and Kyle. All three of them attend the same local church.
Meet a Haitian Family. They are a family of 8. Husband, Wife, and 6 children. They are currently moving to our city. The house they are moving into has no furniture. When they arrive they will not be bringing furniture with them, nor the finances to purchase their own.
All of these people live within 25 minutes of each other. When their stories collide, it creates an intersection of “missions.” All the elements are there. The collision brings together different cultures, languages, and economic situations. Add the purpose of bringing God’s kingdom to new a context, and you have “missions.”
A small group of people from a church are reaching out to meet in a need in a community they would never find themselves, so that a new Hatiian pastor and his family can be a catalyst for God’s Kingdom in their particular context. That’s missions.
It all happened here. In central Florida. In our own city.
It can happen with you. In your city.
Sometimes, oftentimes, the corners of the world begin at the margins of our cities. We simply need to be willing to go there.
What’s holding you back?