When my wife and I were having those deep conversations you have before getting married, we talked about what God was calling us to do and be in the world. We both have hearts that long to serve and please God. We want to see people experience the love of God in Jesus Christ. We see a huge part of that as helping those who are need. We both grew up in Christian homes and were reared in Christian culture. In particular, Shelley, went to a Christian University associated with the Southern Baptist tradition. She noticed how many of her classmates saw the ultimate ministry of a Christian to be overseas missions--those are the real Christians (at least we perceived that kind of pride about it). But we discerned our call differently noticing that there are a lot of people in need of Jesus Christ right here at home.
I'll admit, that at times this felt like a cop-out because it's easy to see how much risk is involved in being an overseas missionary and think "yes, they are a better Christian than me." Or maybe, we weren't taking God's call serious enough, and we need to realize that yes, we are missionaries working for Christ, and not in a competition with our brothers and sisters to see who is better (Mark 10:35-45 comes to mind).
So, here we are in 2012 (after 8 years of marriage and ministry in the United Methodist Church). I've been a Pastor these past 8 years, and I'm finally coming back to the discussion that Shelley and I had at first. I'm turning over a new leaf as we are sent to a new place. I'm focusing on being a Missionary (and being a pastor may be part of that).
This is inspired partly by my home church pastor, Rev. Bob Farr, who recently said "we need more Methodist Missionaries, not pastors." I also have been inspired by the "Missional" movement, which I guess is the new term for Emergent Church (I guess because emergent has come to mean "liberal"--labels, who needs them?). Further inspiration comes from the church planting conferences I've been to.
With this renewed sense of calling, I'm realizing that I haven't had much training to be a missionary. I've had training in Preaching, Bible Study, Evangelism, Worship--all things a pastor needs. But I haven't been trained to be a missionary. I guess I'll have to research it myself. I plan to share what I find and experience here.
So far, I'm realizing that a key aspect of being a missionary (missional) is being sent. My wife and I are beginning a journey to a new place to be among a new group of people and become a part of a community that we don't know. It's exciting and intimidating. As much as we are sent by the United Methodist Church, more importantly, we are sent by God and in the name of Christ.
So, what does it mean to be a domestic missionary? How do I do that? It starts with the faith to go. With that, we have to leave behind some of our comforts, friends and priorities. Yet, I am excited that Christ would gain more followers through our work. Leaving behind the priorities of a pastor who cares for the flock, those who are already followers, to reach out to those who aren't followers of Christ yet. It means I spend more time developing and executing strategies to reach new people than to simply fulfill the expectations of the congregation.
Ready or not Saint Joseph, Missouri, here we come! And to our family and friends, send us forth with your prayers as we
I am a Software Developer, a career shift made in 2018. So far, I have experience with C# .Net and Angular. I continue to let curiosity lead me into learning new technologies. I plan to share what I learn along the way about technology and personal/career life. Previously, my vocation was United Methodist pastor. So in addition to coding, I'll share about theology, the Church and The Bible. I also enjoy running, music, and I'm a deeply committed father and husband. Maybe my experiences will help you. I know it helps me to share.