I've always thought of mission work as a destination - a week (sometimes more) set aside during the year devoted to traveling to some needy area, rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty, all in the name of the Lord. And that's a definition of it, to be sure. But as I'm preparing to spend next week in McDowell County, West Virginia with a wonderful sister in Christ to do exactly that, I think God is gently slapping me in the face. He's showing me that mission work is a lifestyle, not a week-long trip.
How, though, can a "mission" be a part of everyday life? The actual term "mission" implies something with a beginning and end, something that you begin, get through, and finish smoothly. It's another check on a to-do list, or at least that's how I've always liked to think of it. I'm definitely a to-do list kind of person.
But I don't believe that the Christian mission can be on a checklist. Jesus ends the book of Matthew with the Great Commission, saying that we should "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." So why can't that be fit in a week long trip? Because Jesus follows that with, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." He gives us a bit of a time frame now - we can't just check off mission work because it's continual. He tells us to do that always because he's with us always, until the end of the age. The Lord is calling us to leave our comfort zone, roll up our sleeves, and serve Him, all the time.
I once heard a great sermon on this subject. The speaker told us wide-eyed college students that what we consider to be the means - loving God and loving others (which is the purpose of a mission trip, yes?) - God considers to be the end. Sometimes we love Him and love people because we want to save the world with Him. But the speaker is saying that we don't need to have that goal of saving the world - God does that. We just love Him and love people - that's our goal.
And I think that can be a lifestyle to carry, whether we're in West Virginia, West Africa, or West Falls Church.
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.