With 66 books of the Bible, and with millions of words of text God has me dealing with the sixth chapter of Isaiah where in a vision God asks, “Whom Shall I send?” and Isaiah eagerly says, “Here I am! Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8) Lately I have been giving in to an idea that I determined long ago that I was destined for the classroom not the pulpit. The message from God has been clear that that God challenges ideas like that as a way of sanctifying us.
Moreau challenges us in his definition of mission work. He breaks it down as an umbrella with the traditional definition of “missions” as we know it, stretching over the terms “missions” and “mission.” For Moreau, missions is the work of crossing cultural boundaries for the sake of Christ. He loses the plural to define everything that the church is doing to promote “Kingdom Living.” This differs from my own thinking because I never thought to break down the two before. Mission is traditionally thought of as crossing geographical boundaries, but mission work can be done in our own neighborhoods. I always thought that reaching those in the same demographic as we were included in mission work, but Moreau’s definition of both include reaching out to someone in a differing culture than our own. For Moreau, the individual is inserted into a world that is not their own. Moreau continues by telling us misconceptions of missionaries. I do not know that I in particular agree with this approach. You cannot define something by telling what it is not. Something is not an orange simply because it is not an apple, lemon, or pineapple. Moreaou’s thesis states that a missionary is not a person of any importance. They are not super spiritual or super sinful. They are not adventure seekers or a master of languages. They don’t always go to far off places and their change is not necessarily permanent.
My experience with missions has been minimal. It is something that I feel my faith would have profited from. I was 23 before I went on my first mission trip, despite being in church my entire life. I went to Spain for a week and while working at a hostel in Ligonde, Spain shared the Gospel with whomever we might meet. This was during the time of El Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James. Legend has it that James traveled to the west coast of Spain, so every year believers mimic this journey. Even though proclaiming Christianity these people believed that they were obliged to mimic the saint. We shared a Gospel not based on works to a misled people. My other mission experience, according to Moreau, might not be called mission work because it is to my own culture. I volunteered at the Union Rescue Mission and Bread of Life campaigns here in Wichita, Kansas helping those in need.
Earlier I mentioned that in a few short hours I would be meeting with my Pastor to talk about my move from academia to application. My hope for this class is to see where God will use me. That whether it is with pupils or the pulpit, He fill me with the same spirit that Isaiah had. Like Isaiah, I want to proclaim God’s message and save my people.
Moreau, A. Scott, Gary R. Corwin, and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015.