Monday, August 5, 2013

The Lonliness of Missions

You've probably seen the bumper sticker, "Christians aren't perfect... just forgiven." This article is not about whether or not this is a true statement, or whether this is a message we should be putting on the bumpers of our cars--however, it does have a sentiment that I would like to tackle briefely, namely, the idea that Christians, especially those in Christian ministry are perfect.

Here's the truth--we're all broken, sometimes significantly more than we are comfortable admitting. One of the things that many in full time ministry struggle with is loneliness. Despite being surrounded by people, a missionary can feel an incredible sense of isolation, abandonment and discouragement. This is one of the weapons that the enemy uses to keep those in ministry from being effective and fruitful.

One of the things that I have been thinking about recently is how much I need the full body of Christ. I need those with gifts of encouragement, gifts of generosity, gifts of teaching, gifts of prophesy, gifts of administration--as a missionary, I cannot function effectively without the rest of the body of Christ. God doesn't intend those in full-time ministry to be isolated from the rest of the body.

I am really grateful that God is teaching this to me while I am still raising support. I really do need your prayers, I covet your prayers--I covet an encouraging phone call, a text message, an e-mail from someone just wanting to see how I am. However, because of the image of 'having it all together,' often it is possible for me to go for weeks or months without any kind of healthy fellowship with other Christians. Whenever I am together with others, I am expected to perform, to do the missionary monkey dance and beg for a few coins.

I woke up this morning and realized it had been more than two months since a new individual or church joined my support team. I have given out nearly 800 prayer cards, but never received an e-mail or phone call from anyone who has received one.

I wanted to cry. I felt incredibly isolated and alone--but then I remembered that I am not; Jesus was alone on the cross so that I could be in perfect fellowship with God. God helped me to transition into praise and thanksgiving--thanks to God, and thanks to the dozens of individuals and churches that are supporting me faithfully.

I don't want to sound ungrateful, I am not, but I do need you--beyond just your financial support, I need your friendship, I need your prayers, I need your encouragement. I need the whole body of Christ to help to equip me to minister the whole Gospel to those that God has called me to.

"Missionaries aren't perfect..."


Unknown said...

yeah we really need the body and the body needs us. I know support raising is tough man, keep striving and trusting the LORD bro.

Ian Smith said...

Thanks Tom, you have been such an encouragement to me also! Really excited about the path that God has you on as a church-planter; can't wait to hear about the direction that he takes you in.