Wrecked by God's Heart for the Mission
Two years ago, I was sitting in week three of Perspectives, trying to keep it cool on the outside but screaming internally. You see, I’d heard the numbers before: 200 million people without access to Scripture in any form, two billion living in places where there are no believers. One of every three people in the world have never heard the name of Jesus. Sixty-six thousand people die every day without access to the gospel.
Not that I’d ever been taught to think this way, but most of my life I tended to think something like this:
- Missionaries do missions.
- I am not a missionary.
- Therefore I do not do missions.
The numbers were so daunting it almost felt like there was nothing that I could do to change it, but a few years ago I gave my packaged response (“So cool! Let me know what I can do to help.”) to someone asking me to do something with missions. He caught me off guard when he said, “Come with me.”
A few months later I was in the Yucatan Peninsula going hut to hut to tell Mayans about Jesus with people who work in missions full-time, often sharing the gospel with people I didn’t know existed in places I’d never heard of. I asked them one day, “How’d you get here?” Almost in unison they said, “Perspectives” and chuckled.
These guys were contagious. It wasn’t just their boldness or their love and patience with people, or even the way that everyone seemed to be drawn to them. But they talked about Jesus in a way I hadn’t before, and I wanted to find out more. I thought, “If Perspectives was so pivotal for these dudes, then I’ll sign up and see what it’s all about.”
I started Perspectives without really knowing what I was getting into, going to a church I didn’t attend with people I’d never met. All I knew it met on Monday nights for 15 weeks. Then the coordinator walked in and said these surprising words:
This semester you’re going to experience God’s heart for all peoples and encounter the momentum of the World Christian Movement. This course will open the eyes of your heart with fresh knowledge and understanding of God’s unchanging purposes and why they’re relevant to your life. We tell every class we teach - ‘It’ll wreck your five-year plan.’
I thought to myself, “Slow down, bro! That’s a lot of hype for the first night. You might want to pull it back a hair.” Night one comes and goes. I’m intrigued. Then week two comes - you ever have one of those moments where you can almost feel the gears in your brain stop turning? Like someone says something so foreign yet so powerful that it breaks your brain for a second? The professor walks through God’s purpose in history. (I won’t spoil the story. You have to hear it for yourself!)
I realized that I had no idea what was going on around me. I was completely unaware of the massively huge cosmic story happening all around me! I wondered why I had never heard any of this before. It challenged everything I thought I knew about church and making disciples.
After spending my entire life in churches - good churches - I had never once heard the information shared in this course. It broke my brain and broke my heart. And it messed up my five-year plan like you wouldn’t believe.
I love so many things about Perspectives. But what I love most is what motivated me to change. It’s wasn’t a powerful speaker (though there are great speakers). It’s wasn’t the numbers, although the need is urgent. It was the simplicity and inarguable truth of looking at Scripture. I was motivated by focusing on God’s heart and his mission.
The story is going on all around you. The decision is up to you. Are you willing to risk being threaded into God’s epic story? Come check out Perspectives next semester (starting January 12) and see what it’s all about. I’ll buy you lunch if it doesn’t live up to the hype.