Coming in from the Mission Fields in order to go back out!
The Missionary Challenge
This kind of work is often difficult. If you are doing it well, then you will find yourself crossing cultural boundaries and deeply immersed in a mission field which often rejects not only the message, but the messenger as well.
The commission of God is clear. We are to go into all the world and make disciples. We also know that when we go in His name, we never go alone. The Lord promises to go with us all the way to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Missionary Team
It is important to know that as the Lord goes with us, so also there are many other missionaries who are serving faithfully in the fields. Some of them are serving just around the corner, and others, around the world. Perhaps like the Old Testament prophet Elijah, we at times feel alone and that every one is out to get us. God’s clear word to Elijah and to us is that there are many others in the mission fields whose experiences are similar to our own (I Kings 19: 9-18).
The Vacuum Cleaner Mentality
It seems to us that at times the modern church operates with a kind of centripetal, or “center-seeking” force. The church acts like a vacuum cleaner which pulls everything inside, but subsequently doesn’t allow anything to escape. The vacuum cleaner church then is statically redefined as a ”place that people come to worship, instead of a people who are on a journey. People just never seem to get out of the “holy huddle.”
An Inside Out Church
Mission Arlington® believes that the church is simply who we are as we carry out the Great Commission seven days a week and twenty four hours a day. We come together each week to worship and to pray. We love each other, encourage each other, and hold each other accountable. The force is centrifugal, always pushing from the center to the edge. We come together therefore in the presence of God with each other. We remember who we are, and that as our Lord was sent into the world, so we too are compelled into the Mission fields again and again with the good news of Jesus Christ.
The 4:00 Meeting
At 4:00 every Sunday afternoon, Mission Arlington® missionaries come in from the Mission Fields. We spend time in prayer. We worship together. We hear a devotional challenge from Tillie Burgin, or one of our fellow missionaries. We laugh and we cry together. We share our successes and our failures with a missionary family that intimately understands the journey we are on together. Then we head back out into the mission fields.
Strength and Staying Power
It has been our observation through the years, that one missing ingredient of missionary work in the North American context is a weekly worship experience comparable to the 4:00 worship service we share together each week.
As we listen to various missionary leaders, one common theme tends to be the high turnover rates of the lay missionaries that the Lord has enlisted for the work. Frustration tends to be high, and at times, the high turnover rate makes work difficult to sustain.
We want to encourage each leader to gather missionaries together as often as possible to worship, pray, and to share. We believe that it will make an extraordinary difference in the life of those called to serve. We also believe that, under God, a weekly worship meeting will provide strength and staying power in the larger life of the mission work itself. It is worth the time and effort. We highly recommend it.