Scott and I (Jody) are taking a 15 week class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. This interesting and challenging class consists of a wide variety of readings and in-person presentations, usually by experienced missionaries.
My favorite essay thus far is “Beyond Duty” by Tim Dearborn. Dearborn describes the discouragement and exhaustion Christians can experience when we focus on the many needs in the world. We may hear the message as, “I bring you bad news of sad problems.”
Here’s my favorite quote:
It is insufficient to proclaim that the Church of God has a mission in the world. Rather the God of mission has a Church in the world. Grasp this inversion of subject and object, and participation in God’s mission will become a joyous, life-giving privilege. Miss it, and mission involvement will eventually degenerate into a wearisome, overwhelming duty.
This kind of fatigue is real. We have felt it, and we’ve heard it from others. I want to change my focus from the bad news to the good news: the God of mission has a Church in the world. We get to join God in what He is already doing to reach people everywhere with His ever-expanding Kingdom. As our local pastor recently said, “It’s the difference between using the power of a wave to surf, and paddling upstream on the McKenzie River.”
“Beyond Duty,” Tim Dearborn in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Fourth Edition, edited by Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, 2009, p. 70.