Monday, May 24, 2010

Mission 51

Mission 51: Be a missionary one week out of the year and live a missional life the remaining 51 weeks.

In preparation for this summer's youth mission trip to Mexico (SERVE), our team headed to Lake Retreat for a jam packed SERVE Orientation. Any time that we go on SERVE, we gather up all the youth participants to get them pumped up and excited for the work that God will be doing through their lives while in Mexico.

There is the usual talk of the Mexican culture and how we're not going as Americans, but as Christ followers. All of this is great and much needed, but I was pleasantly surprised in the fact that we spent the majority of the time talking about how we need to be reaching our friends and family first.

"Nationals are better equipped to reach nationals." Brian Aaby, Youth Mark Speaker.

We know how to talk to people from our own culture. It's our culture. It's our language. We know how to reach our neighbors better than someone from a different country. So why aren't we doing it?

The main challenge for the weekend was learning how to look for an entry point in a conversation to begin speaking spiritually. Beating people over the head in the name of Jesus tends to do more harm than good. We need to learn how to listen to what our friends and families are saying and be able to respond in a way that points to Jesus and not to us.

Aside from the workshops and sessions, we were able to experience some great worship in singing, led by Joe Poppino.

Despite the rain, the view over the lake was gorgeous.

Everyone loves the massage train.

We ended our time together with an exercise used to illustrate our role as Christ followers. All of the students were asked to line up against the perimeter of the gathering center with one hand placed on the wall. The leaders were then asked to join together in the center of the room and enter into a time of worship, led by Joe and the band. The students were told that they were not allowed to sing or participate in worship. Only the leaders were allowed to.

The leaders were the "believers" and the students were the "unbelievers". So often we expect people to come to our church and to meet with Jesus because we look great out the outside. Because we offer great events. Because we have a new, huge church building. Because our band rocks. This is wrong. And, in fact, probably sinful.

We were told that the only way the students would be able to join us in worshiping, was to go out from our little group, find one student, ask their name, pray for them, and then invite them to come join us.

We cannot expect to show people Jesus, if we're unwilling to leave our church walls.

I'll admit that I was a little bit nervous for this exercise, but what a great opportunity to see what it should look like to be the church, and not just go to church.
For more information about ways that you can be challenged to open spiritual conversations with your friends and family, check out


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