I’m passionate about rugby. I’m passionate about the All Blacks. I’m passionate about the Rugby World Cup. In fact, no one who knows me can doubt my passion for these things.
Mind you, I’m writing this article the day before the All Blacks game against Japan. Who knows, by the time it’s read, my office, currently festooned with black flags and wall hangings, may have become a place of mourning. Time will tell but, for now, I believe.
For anyone left reading this article I’m also passionate about mission. I must confess that right now it feels like it’s slightly outweighed by my passion for rugby but that mission passion burns deeply within me.
There’s something about my mission passion that differentiates it from my rugby passion. A rugby tournament is for a limited period of time. There will be just one winner and 19 losers. My passion for mission is more permanent and there is an opportunity for everyone to win.
Mission is all of who I am, not just part of who I am. Mission involves enabling and mobilising myself and others. Mission is an exciting continuous journey of discovery into God’s amazing plan for our lives and his invitation to us, his church, to join him in his redemptive work in the world.
Those of you who know me will realise, once I get wound up about this thing called mission it’s hard to stop me. Here’s a classic question asked one more time: “If you knew you had only three years to live, what would you do with the time you had left?”
Here’s what I would do:
“… be God’s witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the utter most parts of the earth, and make myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible” (adapted from Acts 1:8 and
1 Corinthians 9:19).
Jerusalem? That means on my own doorstep. I’d want to get together with some likeminded people. We’d find a group of unreached people in town and develop an expression of God’s love that enables them to walk towards him unencumbered by our unintended, out-of-date, sometimes fundamentalist, Christian stumbling blocks.
Judea and Samaria? I’d join a cause of eternal proportions and give my heart and soul to that cause and see people mobilised to join God in his mission.
The utter most parts of the earth? Oh boy… where to start? I have a love for Asia, so I’d start there. As a kid I lived in Thailand and it remains a part of who I am. My work also takes me to China, India and Bangladesh so I’d want to support work in those parts of the world, and see where that leads me.
Make myself a slave to everyone? I’m called to serve so I’d throw everything I have at that call – just ask my wife!
To win as many as possible? Some people choke when we talk about church and numbers. It’s easy to proclaim boldly, “it’s not about the numbers.” Sorry to burst your bubble but it is about numbers.
If it’s good enough for the Apostle Paul to say that he’ll do anything to win as many people as possible then that’s good enough for me. There are many things I can’t do but what I can do is be obedient and alert to the things God calls me to be involved in. That way, with his help, more and more will come to know God’s love and grace.
Even just writing about this stuff I can feel the passion rising within me. Get me on a plane! Get me on a train! Get me on a rickshaw! Get me on a stage! Lord, just get me where you want me to be!
Hold on a minute. On reflection I’m already involved in all of these things.
Maybe I’m already where God wants me to be in His mission. I’m part of a local Baptist church plant in a part of town with huge cultural diversity. We’re trying to be creative in presenting the gospel in tangible and relevant ways.
I’m part of the leadership of the family of Baptist Churches who make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in their communities across Aotearoa.
And I have the greatest job in the world where I’m part of a team who get to help New Zealand Baptists realise God’s call on their lives to join him in different corners of the globe.
A few more weeks and 48 games live on Sky, and the Rugby World Cup will be over. Mission will still be there. Mission doesn’t stop.
Go the All Blacks? Yeah! But let’s shout “go mission!” even louder.
Wanna talk more about mission? Careful, it might change your life!