In two days thousands of students will arrive on campus here at Kent State. Members of our church will be creatively introducing ourselves to these students and seeking to be the church on mission during this crazy yet fun season of year. In preparation for some long days, I took a little break today to simply sit in silence, prayer, and thought before the Lord. This practice of retreating just before a busy season of ministry helps me avoid the great danger of ministry, namely doing for the Lord before simply being with Him. There is such a strong pull for church people (like me) to worship ministry rather than the God who calls us into ministry. Embedded in this temptation is a more dangerous belief that we workers own the mission and are ultimately responsible for it. I’ve been in that place before. I never want to go back.
But is it even right to say that we do ministry for the Lord? The mission belongs to God. Redemption belongs to God. The pursuit of the hurting and confused belongs to God. The maturation of the Christian belongs to God. And yet (here is the best part), he invites us to join with Him. He knows that we will never experience much of the life of Christ if we do not enlist in His work of renewal. We’ll never fully grasp Christ-likeness (what we’re called to) unless we make our mission His mission.
I don’t want a life of basking in the goodness of my own redemption. I don’t want to spend my days reminding myself that I’ve correctly understood a few basic principles of the faith that lead to my salvation. I want so much more than that. Don’t you? So, what’s the “so much more?” It’s the missio Dei, God’s ongoing work of renewing His creation and inviting humanity into the Kingdom where He reigns supreme. Here everything is different than what we see in our broken world. Some say it’s heaven on earth. Here and now. And we are asked to participate with God in bringing this reality of His reign to the world we find ourselves in. That vision I can give my life to. Can you?
This quote from Mortimer Arias, bishop of the Methodist Church in Bolivia, says it perfectly:
We need to recover the capacity to dream. The reign of God is God’s own dream, his project for his world and for humanity! He made us dreamers, and he wants us to be seduced by his dream and to dream with him.
I want to be with God so that I can join with God in His work of realigning my life and my church community’s life to His mission.