by Nathan Murphy, senior business major
This post adapted from a speech given in Mission Team chapel at Bob Jones University on Thursday, September 29, 2016.
I had the opportunity to spend the last two summers in Australia—first on the Bob Jones University Australia Team, and then this past summer as a pastoral intern at a church in Melbourne.
As I reflect on my experiences over those summers, I’m reminded of how John Stott describes the life of the believer:
"We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God."
That sounds good doesn’t it? It sounds super radical and spiritual and stuff. If we were scrolling through Instagram and saw this quote on an obscure picture of a mountain or a rowboat, we would probably all like it—or heart it or whatever. But how realistic is it for us to live this out?
College students have plenty of reasons to NOT go on a mission team—many of which are legitimate. For some here today, your summer ministry will be working a job to continue the education God has called you to complete.
However, the fact that we are attending a Christian college means that God has led us to invest in more than a degree. And that investment doesn’t end in May. Believe me, you will learn more during several weeks of immersive, cross-cultural ministry than you will learn the rest of the year in the classroom.
If God is stirring your heart to learn more about mission team opportunities, then all the obstacles will look small in comparison to the God we serve.
But let me warn you – a mission team is the furthest thing from a sanctified vacation. It’s not something to add to your spiritual resume. And it is certainly not like working at a camp. In a camp setting, people leave their culture to enter yours. But on a mission team, you leave your culture to enter theirs.
Cross-cultural ministry will break you. It will leave you vulnerable, and force you to examine your motives.
Going on a mission team was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But the lessons God used my time in Australia to teach me are worth more to me than the diploma I will receive when I graduate.
Father, we come before You as a student body—astonished by Your grace and ambitious for Your glory. You ask us to be broken and sacrificial in our service of your Church. And in response, we ask for the courage to GO—not where our careers take us, but where the Gospel takes us. Father, make us look small so that You can look big. Reveal the idols of our hearts that prevent us from truly loving the people You have called us to. Do whatever it takes to advance the Gospel—first in our own hearts, and then across the world. Amen.
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.