Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We want YOU to be a missionary! (It's not what you think!)

I think I forgot about you guys this past week. I left you all hanging here, with no word as to my whereabouts or silly notions. How disrespectful of me. This past week has been filled with a final paper, time with friends, lots of silly notions, orchestra concerts for church, and the Avengers! (I may not have understood all the references but I did understand the value of good-looking men and hulk smashes). So alas, the blogity-blog fell behind. But here is a little post for you on the subject of. . .seminary. *Ahem, do not tune out. This will not be dull!...I hope.*

Usually there is a common reaction when I tell the layperson that I am in seminary. The conversation most often goes like this:
*insert perky, overly enthusiastic me* "Yea! So I moved out to Pasadena to go to seminary at Fuller."
 *insert skeptical/that's totally not relatable to my life look* "Oh, so, uh, you want to be a pastor?"

I cannot tell you how many times this has been said to me. I think I have taken it on as my personal mission to bring the cool back to seminary, because man, the looks I get make it seem like seminary is the biggest first impression party no no. Kind of like saying you hope to have 15 kids and put them all to work on your sustainable farm in Idaho on your first date. Note: I do not want 15 kids, but I do love sustainable farms and potatoes.

But at the same time, I think I came to seminary with a similar misconception. I came to seminary with the notion not of being a pastor but of being a missionary in a foreign land, bringing people out of poverty and helping them know Christ. That is what I thought missions was, just a single girl changing the world, one malaria pill at a time.

Let me drop something on you real fast. Get prepared: If you are a Christian...you are a missionary. I know, right!? Go ahead and drop all your ideals of missions being only in a foreign land. Missions is the church, and the two cannot be separated. For the church was created by a missional God. The whole Old and New Testament can trace the mission of God, from the creation of Adam and Eve in the garden to the redemption of humankind at the cross. God's whole plan for the world is missional and God's plan includes His church. Therefore if we serve a missional God, then His mission must include the church, and the church must be part of His mission.

My point is, you don't have to go to seminary to be a missionary. You don't even have to leave your neighborhood. When you are fulfilling God's mission on the earth then you are being the church, and this means doing the work of God exactly where you are. Whether that be in a top-floor office, a school, or a foreign field. To be a missionary is not just to sell all your possessions and move to the bush of Africa (though this is a beautiful call) but to be a missionary is to be the light of Christ wherever you are, seminary education or not.

I'll conclude here in saying this. My Masters is a Masters in Intercultural Studies with an emphasis in International Development. Yes, there is some theology in there but it is mostly about how to help the poor and how to be a humanitarian as well as a Christian. My classes are on refugees and the impact of globalization on world poverty. And I am still utterly passionate about those things. But I don't know where God is going to take me in life. I don't know if I will be living on the other side of the world or just the other side of the country. But I can tell you this. If I call myself a Christian, then I will be working to fulfill God's mission wherever I go. I will be working to bring glory to His name and people into His arms. I will be taking care of the poor and the hungry. Because He has saved me from the depths, and I want to do nothing else but serve Him. Will you join me?

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