How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? … – Romans 10:14a
The summer of 2006 was approaching and I was weighing plans for the family in my mind; trying to decide how to spend the few precious days of vacation time that I had earned from work. Those vacation days were (and still are) very precious to me and I wanted to make sure that I used them well. Never mind that I was also running a business on the side at the time… we were busy for sure!
It was already hard to decide what to do and where to go.; and then something remarkable happened. One Sunday, our pastor (we had just started attending our “home” church in late 2004) mentioned that our church was going to take a trip that summer to a small town in Mississippi to help a church rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
In that moment, I began to consider something that I had never thought of before.
I had never been on a mission trip, but what if God was calling our family to sacrifice our summer vacation to join Him in helping those in need? What if His summer plans for us included something much more than sand, water, amusements parks, bad hotels, and the like? What if He was sending us on a mission and this was His invitation?
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” — C.T. Studd
It was not long after that that our family was sitting in a living room pondering this option… my wife was on board, the kids soon followed… and the Alexanders decided that the beach could wait! It was not an easy decision, not back then, and we may still find ourselves wrestling from time to time with some of the same questions. But I can tell you that this trip changed my life and the life of our family
We ended up spending a very hot, very humid week in Pascagoula, a town that I had only ever heard mentioned in an old song about a squirrel and a church. It was one of the most physically demanding yet spiritually nourishing weeks of my life. I thank God that He invited us, and that we listened.
“The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” – Mike Stachura
I have come to not only value the opportunity to “go” on mission, but also to desire it greatly. There has not been a summer since 2005 that I have not been somewhere with some church on mission. I say that not to attempt place myself under your esteem, but only to mention that my vacation days from work have NOT really increased that much since then. And pastoring a church is much busier than running a business.
My point is clear and it is one of challenge: What is God calling you to sacrifice so that you can join Him on mission?
Not everyone can go, not every time… but we should all be “on mission”!
In order to help you, as my church family, I want to detail a couple of upcoming opportunities for you to prayerfully consider… I would love for you to join me in one of these efforts:
1) Prayer – it is the single most important thing that you can do for missions. Pray for the mission teams’ safety, health, and (most importantly) effectiveness for the Gospel!
2) One Day – On Tuesday November 7, South Carolina Baptists will be on mission, serving the city of Columbia, SC in the name of Jesus. Volunteers will join local churches and ministries to support the work being done in their communities. I have more details…. Please see me to sign up.
3) Mission Dartmouth (a.k.a. The EBA Boston Area Mission Trip) – On Dec 1st – 4th, the churches of the EBA will travel for an extended weekend to Dartmouth, Mass to assist our church planting partners (SouthCoast Church) with ministry. The really cool thing is that most of the cost for this trip is being covered by a grant; so your part is actually quite low. And even that should not discourage you from signing up. I will be leading this trip and would love for you to join me. This is your invitation! Sign up ends on October 31st.
In all this, please know that I love and appreciate every one of you. Whether you can participate in one or all three of these items that does not change. Yet, I would love to see you and your family be blessed by such an effort in the same way we were (and are). Please be in prayer over these opportunities.
I love you all,