The Mission and Spiritual Growth
Pausing from Reading at the Beach
Back in my InterVarsity days, and every March, I would take a trip to New Orleans to offer service to the city and talk about how service and faith intersect. There was a lot of missional activity on these trips. But InterVarsity noticed that there was one thing missing. Staff were having a hard time connecting to Jesus during the week. These trips were just so busy. So they came up with a plan for offering Spiritual Formation for the staff during the week. I remember it well. It was needed for us to connect with Jesus while we were doing His work.
OK, so what is "Spiritual Formation"? I’m so glad that you asked! In order to do the work that Jesus is calling us to do, we need to be "formed" by Him. Spiritual Formation is a fancy way of saying that we simply are allowing Jesus to form us and mold us into His image. This is done intentionally and not by accident. In the midst of the busyness of doing mission, it's easy to forget that you need to continue to grow in your relationship with Him and to know that your worth from God is based only on His amazing love for you and His amazing grace. Its easy to forget that His Spirit WILL let you know how you are doing the mission - if you ask. And that, after you've done the best you know how - to leave the results of your efforts in His hands.
Trailer of my Favorite Movie
Take Time to Enjoy God's Creation
So, how do you deal with this? How do you make sure you are growing in your relationship with God without compromising the mission? Every Christian should be about the Mission of God, yes? So here are a few of my thoughts:
Remember it is God Who is Doing the Work: This is the most important thing you can do. God is at work through you and around you. It is not about what YOU can DO, but how you, as His SERVANT, can be used BY Him. And Listen, IT'S OK TO TAKE TIME OFF to refresh your soul and encourage others to take time off as well.
Prayer Ministry: This type of prayer is about helping someone listen to the Holy Spirit. You guide whomever you're working with through a time of listening and you listen as well. I have been a part of this on both sides. Trust me - it's can be very powerful.
Be Aware: Take time to take stock of how you are connecting to God. Ask your spouse what area he or she thinks you need to grow in. If you are on a team, ask them the same questions. And be willing to help them realize what they need from God.
Remind Yourself About the Mission: Open up the Bible and read about what God did in history and what he plans on doing for the future. I especially recommend reading the book of Acts. Do this by yourself but also invite others to do the same (maybe get together and discusion what you are seeing). I’m a part of a men’s Bible study on Tuesday night and I get a lot of quality time there.
Get Some Rest: Don’t be afraid to use your days off for rest. We can get so busy with ministry that we forget to rest. Re-read the first bullet point, realize it is not about us and what we can do. It is all about what God is doing. Remember the Sabbath. Read in the book of Hebrews about entering into His rest. Two ways that I get rest is watching a movie or going for a walk. Find what works for you.
Read a Book: There are a lot of good books out there. Go to the public library in town or check out what your Pastor has in his or her library. Reading can be used for learning and getting recharged. My Spiritual Director suggested that I start reading fictional books and I’m really glad that I started that. That allows me to get lost in a world that isn’t my own. And, surprise, surprise - I read a lot of books on prayer to continue my learning, renewing and inspiration. I’m sure there are areas where you want to learn and stories you want to connect with.
Blogs: I’m not the only blog writer out there on the net. Besides reading mine, go search for others that might interest you. Don’t be afraid to click on the following so you can get them into your inbox. You can find ones that will help you on your journey with God and others that are just plain fun. Its the same with reading books!
Your Thoughts: Now I KNOW you have some and I really would love to hear them. So, Com'on!
Radio Message from my Favorite Author
The goal here is to find out what works for you. Your faith in God is the most important aspect to your role in Mission. Don’t neglect it! When you are connected to God, He can do so much through you and others. So the next time you are praying (or you can pray right now), ask God how you can be growing in your faith. Then, grow in that area. Ask others, especially your spouse, family, and close friends.
Pray, pray, and pray - Early and Often!