As I reflect on Global Impact at Connection Pointe this year, these things stand out to me:
God is stirring hearts for global service. With the addition of twelve people recently expressing interest in serving overseas for one year or more, we are becoming an environment that nurtures longer term missions service into reality. The goal is not to recruit, but to discern together what God’s stirring of an open heart means. From our first group of six, two are currently on the field, two are preparing to return to the field, and two have settled in the USA. All settled the stirring of their heart. These next twelve are seeking to do the same.
Child sponsorship is still one of the best avenues for global engagement. We increased our overall numbers this year, with about 660 children in Kenya, Swaziland, Guatemala and Navajo Nation sponsored by Connection Pointe people. This count does not include those who sponsor children in other areas of the world. Our goal remains 1 + 1, to have one child sponsored overseas for every child that attends our weekend services.
Missions is no longer seen in terms of trips. When I started my role on staff three years ago, the default mode for understanding of missions service was 6-10 days. Serving as a longer term missionary did not seem reachable, and most didn’t know how to get started. But with the video greeting from our partners shown Thanksgiving weekend I think we reached a collective understanding that missions can be a year or more of one’s life. As mentioned above, many people are exploring this possibility.
Our God is a missionary God. A friend of mine, a missional theologist, says you can’t read more than 5 chapters in a row anywhere in the Bible without seeing God’s desire for the nations. (Give it a try) God’s purpose is to draw ALL people to Him, and He will have people from every nation, tribe, people and language around His throne. (Rev 7:9) That’s been His plan since the creation of the world! The Perspectives course taught those who came that God is always pursuing people. Our guest speakers shared their stories of how God’s missionary enterprise played out in their experiences all around the world.
Not everything succeeds, but we can always learn. We cancelled trips to the Balkans and Kenya this year. I explored some local cross-cultural outreaches and decided it wasn’t time to roll out a program. The work in Panama is not ready for us to send a team. Lessons learned? God’s timing is critical, so we don’t push where we are not encouraged to. All of these things can be done at a later date, when the people are ready to receive us or when the environment is secure enough for freedom of movement.
As this year finishes, I encourage you to reflect on what stands out to you, how you have grown and what lessons you have learned. What has God been up to in your world?