This month, I had the privilege of attending a religious conference in Richmond, Virginia Well over 7,000 conference attendees swarmed the city for a 3-day course of learning and networking. Exhibitors of the conference represented some 285 mission related world-wide organizations all vying for the attention of conference goers.
As I gazed from a glass room on the second floor above the massive exhibit hall, it looked like a typical convention. I couldn’t help but to notice hundreds of two legged creatures moving about the exhibit corridors carrying stuffed plastic bags full of literature, books, conference tchotchkes, and plenty of unnecessary sugary treats. Don’t forget the colorful/creative booth space designs also appealing to your attention.
But this particular conference is quite different from the hundreds I’ve attended over the past 15 years. These 285 exhibitors primarily represented outreach ministries stationed in some 145 countries world-wide! From US based ministries like Christian Appalachian Project of Kentucky to Bach Christian Hospital of Pakistan, all present to attract mission minded candidates for short or long term mission opportunities.
Many prospect candidates attending this conference are college bound youth looking to plunge into some kind of spiritual global trek adventure. Adults like myself, look forward to networking and collaborating. I believe the core of the three day recruitment tangle between mission candidates and outreach ministries is to channel our focus on Kingdom building. God has uniquely given ‘us’ people passion – to help those who aren’t capable to help themselves.
Beyond the exchange of brochures, business cards, books, confectionary candies, and gawking at international artwork and crafts comes the real work. It is the stories of people throughout the world who some tonight may face starvation, illness, sudden death, religious persecution, or the quickening to leave their home because of tribal warfare.
It’s not new to us that the world is besieged by strife and trials. The question is often ask…Who shall go to help? Who will advocate and confront these terrible issues?
The notion of being surrounded by 7,000 conference goers and 250,000 US missionaries currently serving around the world, a level of confidence is obvious that ‘someone’ is doing ‘something’.
Unfortunately, the 80/20 rule may apply…after the convention, some conventioneers may go back to their busy lives, responding to Twitter, Facebook, occupying a work cubical Monday thru Friday for several hours, and playing the day care shuttle.
Others may view and pour over the free literature once they go back home and pray to ‘fit’ a mission schedule into their personal calendar for next year.
Only a few will answer the call; leaving the comforts of home for the sake of giving comfort to those who haven’t had a fair chance to live in dignity.
The “few” possess God’s overflowing passion to take that risk, defy the odds, and ignore the criticism of family members and friends. It is that overflowing passion that keep them up in the wee hours of the night. It is that overflowing passion that encourages them to hear successful stories of other missionaries overcoming challenges in unreachable communities. It is that overflowing passion where God is speaking and providing the next steps for kingdom assignments. It is that same overflowing passion that caused me to buck the trend of what people my age aren’t doing yet.
What is that God overflowing passion that possesses you – yet you decided not to have a ‘coming-out’ party? Is it causing you to change? Is it causing you to breakout yet? Go for it! Don’t be scared…do it today.