Sometimes I have one of those days that is equally gratifying and frustrating at the same time! That was yesterday. Yesterday I was in New Orleans with our Missions Team as we met in a morning strategy session with our mission partners in the 9th Ward and in an afternoon strategy session with our Metairie partners. Several things were whirling around in my mind.
First I was again struck by the contrasts. Although this is oversimplified, one might say the 9th Ward is an area where people are down and out while in Metairie they are up and out! Whether “down” or “up” – they are out! In one area the people are burned out by crime, poverty, and the neglect of caring communities. The other is bound by clinging to a religious system rather than Christ, and seeing very little need for the family of God. They are easily neglected by faith communities because we don’t really think they need anything.
But the similarities are striking. In both communities families have problems. In both communities the Gospel is desperately needed. And as I listened to both missions partners, it was amazing that they basically identified the same foundational needs – they need the Gospel presented, relationships built, and they both desperately needed their folks to be discipled!
Reflecting on that at 4:00 am this morning, my first thought is to be overwhelmed – because those are the same needs we have at Agricola. So the question comes to mind – “How do we get that done?” The task is enormous. Because God has commanded us to a worldwide mission, I am pondering how do we help those precious folks in New Orleans with the enormous task of reaching that city? Because God has commanded me to shepherd the flock of God, I ponder how to disciple all these folks in Agricola!
Well, I came to this conclusion after being awake for a few minutes – I can’t! We can’t! All I can do is be faithful to God, faithful with the Gospel, and determined to disciple and provide discipling resources. At some point – I have to trust God! I have to trust God that He already has key relationships unfolding. I have to trust that He will awaken sleepy-headed Christians to one day care more about His kingdom than this decaying, dying, temporary world and its stuff and distractions. I have to trust that God who has commanded us to reach the Agricolas and New Orleans of the world will be faithful to bring it to pass as we proclaim the Gospel.
There were 9 of us adults yesterday planning some strategy for reaching our areas in Agricola and New Orleans. There are more as well. Some we know about. Some we don’t. But what I do know is that God is faithful. My life has already been amazingly blessed by our mission partners. My ministry skills are being sharpened. And I am more dependent on God than ever before. And I am more optimistic than ever that God is going to do something amazing with the Gospel in our time. God will get it done!