By Bryan Marvel
When I was younger, I used to think that being a pastor was one of the worst jobs anyone could ever have. As a young church goer, I would sit through a church service, listening to my pastor preach, and think, “His job has to be incredibly boring. He spends all week working on that!?”
But sure enough, God in his sense of humor, called me, of all people, to be a pastor. As I was coming to terms with this calling, one thing that made it more manageable was that I realized there was still one job worse than a pastor. A missionary!
In my mind, missionaries lived in jungles on the other side of the world. They resided in grass huts, wore loin cloths, and ate bugs and worms. Who would ever want to live like that, seriously!?
But over the last 15 years, my perspective of missions and ministry has drastically changed. The more I’ve read the Bible and engaged with the story the scriptures are telling, I’ve come to believe that anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus is called to be in ministry as a missionary. And your mission field is wherever you are. Your mission field is your neighborhood, your work place, the park, the local coffee shop, the gym, etc. As followers of Jesus, no matter our vocation, we are all called to bear witness to who God is and what he is doing in our world.
One book of the Bible that helped open my eyes to this reality was Acts. The book opens with Jesus leaving the disciples and going back to the Father. But before he departs, he spells out their calling and how they will be prepared to obey what he was asking of them. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).”
Later on in the early chapters of Acts, the religious leaders tried to squash the momentum the disciples were gaining as they proclaimed the good news about Jesus' resurrection. However, they were astonished at the courage and boldness of the disciples who were “unschooled, ordinary men (Acts 4:13).”
The book of Acts is an intriguing book that tells the story of the early church coming to terms with their calling to bear witness to the good news that Jesus is alive and well, and that He’s extending salvation to all those who believe.
This fall we are going to be exploring this story with the hopes of coming to terms that we are a part of the disciples' story. That our calling is simply an extension of their calling. And that we too are to be ministers and missionaries right where we are.
My hope is that as we explore the story in Acts, our church will further see that our mission – to invite people to discover Jesus and become his fully devoted followers who influence the world – was the exact same mission the church had when it began.
I’m really excited for our fall message series and can’t wait to go on this journey with you. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!