I have spent the last season of my Ministry doing some retrospection, especially when it comes to my values and beliefs coming through in how we teach, what we teach and what we give platform time to. What I have discovered and been struggling with is that I do not feel called to be an overseas missionary neither short or long term. I see tremendous value in Missions, seeing the lost saved, and seeing people freed from bondage through Jesus. But I have been wrestling with whether not it’s okay that I feel no burden to go. But also, is this coming through in us valuing or not valuing global Missions to the extent we should as a Ministry
I am a Pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, which I suppose makes it stranger that I feel the way I do about Missions. My wife has been to Africa, spent time on the property that our Church owns there; she feels a burden for the people there that I don’t. I can fake it, but its just not there for me right now.
But what is becoming more obvious to me is that the burden that God has put on my heart is much narrower and more focused and I am feeling more and more that this is by design. When we teach our students about ‘the lost’ and ‘making disciples of all nations’ we often talk about overseas, but for me the reality is there are 4000 ‘lost’ teenagers within 15 minutes driving from my office. I find often times Churches will spend a lot of money on overseas projects, yet we forget the brokenness that exists in our own communities.
What if we invested more resources on this Missions field, the statistics prove its worth it in that about 75% of people who give their lives to Jesus will do so before High School is over. How is this not the most urgent thing we can do as the Church?
God has called me to be a Youth Pastor, he has given me a focused passion for seeing the lives of the students in my community transformed by the power of Jesus. I don’t apologize for, or try and explain why I am not going to Africa this summer. Missions trips and Missions work is powerful stuff, but it should be for people who are called to be there, who will take what they have seen and start a movement of change. The last thing a Missions trip needs is someone on vacation.
Please don’t think that we don’t promote missions, I have several volunteers that have been Missionaries, or been overseas short-term, they lead the charge, and they lead from authentic, God placed passion for ‘the lost’ outside of our community and country.
This is my burden and my passion, the High School Mission Fields we work in are dangerous, volatile and hostile but they are frontline of where God is moving, I am leading this charge in our ministry, from a place of authentic, God place passion for these students. My calling may be narrow, but focus is good, and its hard to be great a lot of things.
Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MTDB. You can, too! See how right here.