Repentance time: Mission round up and the Shake ‘n’ Bake.

From time to time I’ll discuss my sin on this blog. Not to glory in my amazing ability to overcome it, nor to wallow in it. I hope it’ll be encouraging as we see Jesus’ strength in my weakness.

Just before the term 1 holiday Moore College shuts down and all the students, in groups of about twenty, go out to a church to do/help with evangelism for eight days. This is called mission week.

This morning I had a brunch with the rest of the college team that went to Centennial park, St Matthias for mission. Warwick de Jersey, the head honcho of St Matthias was coming along as well. It was a kind of debriefish, evaluatory thing. I was not looking forward to it.

To be honest with you I was disappointed with mission. Although I did heaps of stuff like Primary School Scripture, I felt like I spent the week cluster bombing the gospel, rather than having genuine conversations with people. Even the door knocking I did to invite people to the Church’s Easter Picnic, which was happening after we left, seemed fruitless. Everyone else on team seemed to be having a great time and having the kind of Gospel conversations I was wanting to have and it seemed circumstances (rain, transport, timetabling) thwarted my evangelistic efforts at every turn. In short, although I would never had articulated it, I felt mission hadn’t really been “successful”.

But I was humbled this morning. Warwick and Archie spent about half an hour telling us in triumphant detail just how great the St Matthias Easter picnic and Easter services had been. The church was at standing room only, the kids ministries were ballooning. What’s more a bunch of these people came, either because of door knocking or because their kids had come to scripture and nagged their parents to let them come to church at Easter. Several people made Jesus their King over the weekend, several more have started meeting up with people from the church to try and make sense of Christianity for themselves.

Reflecting on mission now, I can see that what I was involved in was a “Shake ‘n’ Bake”. For those who haven’t seen Talledaga Nights, Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C Reilly) and Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) were Nascar racing team-mates and Cal Naughton Jr. would deliberately allow Rick Bobby to slip stream and catapult forward to allow Bobby to win every time.

Mission time this year didn’t give me the opportunities to extend my evangelistic repertoire, or allow me to experience the joy of witnessing the “ah ha” moment as someone understands the gospel for the first time as they move from spiritual death to rebirth and life. But mission week isn’t about me. It is about the Lord Jesus and the extension of His kingdom and the building up of His church. He must be made great.

Although I didn’t find the same enjoyment that I have had on other missions, in reality I had very little to complain about. I was treated exceptionally well by my billets (they lent me their “spare” car, see photo below), Anna had a great week and the more I think about it, the more instances of other team members getting to have the conversations that I didn’t get to have pop into my mind. So what if I didn’t! Others were!

Please join me in thanking God for the work he is doing in Paddington and Centennial Park. Planting and watering aside – God is giving the growth.

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