You know that moment when you read or hear something... and your only response is an emotional/mental, "Ouch!" ??
I had one of those moments the other day when I read:
"One of the main reasons [insert your country... county... city... name here]'s churches are not ministering to a larger number of people is because they typically wait for people to come to them.... Many congregations seem to have become ends in themselves. They exist for each other and become preoccupied with themselves and their'way of 'doing' religion. Lay ministry means nothing more than getting involved in running the church." (Dr. Reginald Bibby, Transforming Our Nation: Empowering the Canadian Church for a Greater Harvest, p. 302, 300-301)
I read that and started to wonder, "Could that be true? That even when we go as missionaries to far flung corners of the globe we still somehow wait for people to come in to find us instead of going out and sharing with them?"
I can only really speak to my own experience living, working and trying to minister in West Africa - but if I'm speaking honestly, spending most of my time with other expat friend and colleagues was certainly more comfortable. And there were times that it was needed and an integral ministry. Even after living in the same neighborhood for several years, stepping out into the community to visit with the ladies, trying to use my third language, seeking to understand a culture and way of thinking that was so completely foreign to me, always knowing that I was obviously a foreigner just because of the color of my skin.
I can also only really speak to my own experience living, working and trying to minister in Midland, Michigan - where my kids attend the Christian school that is a ministry of our sending church... where life seems to be consumed by school and church activities or by traveling and visiting with our partnering churches activities... and our little ones come to the "invite a friend to church" nights and realize they don't know anyone who doesn't already know Jesus or go to church regularly....
To read the rest, please join me over at More for Missionary Moms,
where I was posting yesterday.