Mission is a Lifestyle, Not Just a Response
BGAV National Missions Director writes about the "why" of what we do
When I was in seminary, a mentor told me that if you listen long enough, a minister’s sermons will have a common theme that will reveal their passion. Whenever I prepare a sermon, sooner or later I start thinking about Matthew 25 – the parable of the sheep and goats – a parable that has defined my idea of mission engagement for individuals and for churches. In the parable, Jesus judges both the sheep and the goats based on situations whose importance they didn’t even realize at the time. Both the sheep and the goats are surprised that they succeeded (or failed) in offering something to the hungry or thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, or visiting those who were sick or in prison. They don’t seem to have been looking for the opportunities; the opportunities found them. When mission becomes our lifestyle, our eyes are open to opportunities as they come, and we are ready to respond.
Over the last few weeks, it has been almost impossible to miss the needs in our world. With the resurgent Covid-19 pandemic as a backdrop, we’ve seen a significant named storm bring significant damage to Tennessee and North Carolina, a humanitarian crisis bring refugees from Afghanistan to Virginia, and an earthquake strike Haiti. It isn’t hard at all to see the people Jesus called “the least of these.” If we open our eyes a bit wider, we can also see that hunger and thirst aren’t limited to food and water, a person can feel like a stranger even at home, feeling vulnerable is often unrelated to clothing, and illness and prison are often invisible to the rest of us.
Virginia Baptist Disaster Response (DR) is inviting individuals and churches to join us in showing love to Christ by caring for people facing these crises. In partnership with Virginia Department of Emergency Management, we are collecting hygiene kits, which you’ll be able to drop off at a church in your region. These kits will be available to refugees from Afghanistan and to people affected by storms this hurricane season. We are sending DR teams to Canton for cleanup and crisis care resulting from Tropical Storm Fred. We are part of a multi-agency partnership in Haiti responding to the needs created by the earthquake there.
None of these ministries are possible without your help. We invite you to pray – pray that God will work through each of us. We invite you to give – help us to provide for the needs in our community. And we invite you to go with us – let this response be a next step toward embracing a lifestyle of mission.
Glenn Maddox is BGAV National Missions Director.