Thoughts from one of this year’s EQUIP participants.
The first thing you might notice in driving in NYC is all the ONE WAY signs. They’re everywhere, and for a person that is not used to a whole city full of ONE WAY signs, this makes driving difficult.
For the better half of my faith journey I have participated in what I call normal ministry. In the thought of most Christian Churches and Denominations in the USA we have gained a ONE WAY mentality to do church. Think about that — we typically want to get the person to come to the gathering of the church because for some reason, we act like that’s the only place God can be. If we can just get them inside those walls then maybe things can be different in that persons life, maybe — just maybe — they will encounter Jesus. What we are realizing here in NYC is that there are many more ways than ONE WAY to do ministry.
I used to where a shirt that said “Church can happen anywhere” and, believe it or not, I got so many compliments on that shirt. The thing I had to discern was if I really believed that shirt. In our settings in NYC we are truly understanding that Church (big C – the body of believers loving and impacting each other and the world) can and will happen outside the church building.
As we reach for the lost sheep, these sheep have never seen a shepherd much less a pen to contain them, so we, like wise shepherds, are learning new ways to go after the lost. We are learning how to use many different tools and now are in the practical training of putting these tools to test.
In these tools that we’re gaining I’m reminded of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
If you’re interested in learning more about the EQUIP missionary training program, check out this page.