In the evangelical culture I grew up in, overseas missions held an enviable mystique. Serious and devoted Christians were almost *expected* to become missionaries to some unknown, unreached land. Today, this pressure has shifted to church planting. Perhaps this is because of the technological shrinking of the world or the late realization that the United States has quietly become a mission field itself.
Sometimes people tell me, “I really admire and respect what you are doing.” Or “I couldn’t do what you are doing.” It always feels like a slightly odd thing to say. What are they talking about? I suppose it’s the fact that I’m a white church planter in a majority black community trying to intentionally reach blacks and whites with the gospel. And I’m a middle class church planter attempting to include both rich and poor in our fledgling church community.
I really hate pointing this out, but there’s a bit of unintended arrogance in those statements. The idea of “what you are doing” betrays the belief that white middle class suburban communities are not as needy, broken, or sinful. Full disclosure: I have the same deep-seated way of thinking. Let’s repent of such attitudes. God’s grace covers even our unintentional sins.
Consider this, my friends. God the Father has placed you in your household, your neighborhood, your school, your soccer league, your workplace, and your city to speak and live out the Gospel. God the Son has called you to join Him in his mission to “make disciples of all nations.” God the Spirit will empower you to boldly love your neighbor as yourself with the truth of God’s Word and heartfelt deeds of mercy.
There’s nothing special about “what we are doing” in Orangeburg. You are doing the same things.