Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thoughts on Whether to Go or Not...

Today at church, we had our first meeting for anybody interested in being a part of the Bulgaria Servant Team this year. We had 15 people in attendance and another two have expressed interest but were unable to attend. Possibly, others are considering going as well. Now, we wait in prayer to see who God has chosen to go. As each of us contemplates whether we will go, I want to challenge each potential team member to consider several things:

First, what motivates you? Why are you interested in going to Bulgaria? Are you looking for an exciting adventure on your summer vacation? Are you returning to hang out with good friends? Or, are you driven by a desire to serve others in obedience to God's calling? Simply put, who are you going for? Yourself, others, or God? Self-motivated purposes will accomplish little. Sure, you'll have a great time but the team will suffer and you will fail to minister to the people we are reaching out to. Going for others sounds noble but will likewise fall short. People will disappoint you, you will disappoint them, not everyone will understand or appreciate what you do. The only motivation that can really make a difference is to go because you know God has told you to. Only in His power, through His Spirit, can we make a real, lasting difference in Bulgaria, here at home, or anywhere else.

Second, what price are you willing to pay? Beyond the money, are you willing to surrender your time? Will you give up other activities and interests that will interfere with your involvement with this team? Can you lay down your comfort, dietary preferences, and free will for two weeks in a foreign culture? Going back to the first point, if you are truly motivated by a desire to serve, then it won't matter what form that service takes. You may pull weeds, clean and paint, do construction work, or childrens' ministry. Everybody has their preference, but are you willing to do anything, not just the things you like? Will you pull weeds or paint walls with the same effort and joy that you would give to doing crafts or playing games with kids at the Black Sea? What if we weren't going to do what you enjoy most about Bulgaria... Games and crafts, going to the Black Sea, hanging out with kids, visiting friends in the city? Would you still want to go? The team is looking for servants willing to lay down their lives completely in order to serve others in any way necessary.

Finally, if you are truly called, why is God calling you? What specific abilities and gifts has He given you to use? What has God put on your heart to accomplish there? For first timers, this question may have no answer. My first year, I had no idea what to expect or what we even did there? My second year, I began to recognize my place on the team and specific areas of service where I could be of greatest benefit. For returning team members, consider how God wants to use you specifically in the coming year. Prayerfully consider why God has called you.

I am so excited to see what God has in store for us this year. I can't wait to see the team He assembles and how we will work together. April 14th is the deadline we've set to have the money for our tickets and I look forward to seeing God provide for the needs of those He will use. Please keep the entire team in your prayers!

1 comment:

  1. As Mike pointed out, it is important to understand what our motivation is. Is it God or something else that inspires or drives us in anything?
    While returning to see friends is very much part of what we have built into our purpose and mission to Bulgaria it is not what should motivate us. We have done much to foster relationships over the years and those relationships a precious in themselves but they cannot be what motivates us. It is as Mike put it obedience to God that is important. Then, no matter what we do our where we will go we will bring God glory
    Selfish reasons and self centeredness leads to quick burn out one the servant field, even if it only for to weeks. We have seen it take only a few days for someone to become a liability to the trip because they were focused on “self.” Self focus and self-centeredness brings a critical spirit and very quickly there is an inability to see anything except through jaundiced eyes. We must be lead by God and know from the beginning that God is calling us…even before we can see the ”ability” to go.

    Mike also spoke about the price that needs to be paid. When you know it is God who is sending you and He is your motivation then there is no price you will not pay. Each and everything we do becomes a willing act of obedience that is done with the same enthusiasm as anything else. I love what you said about that, Mike! Good stuff. I so agree that we need to be a team that is willing to lay our lives down for each other and be enthusiastic about anything we are called to do.

    Almost all of those that showed up to the meeting have been to Bulgaria before. You each have experienced God working and you are more aware of your gifts than you were before. A few of you have not had the opportunity yet, at least with Bulgaria, so you need to be seeking God about that as well. So far no one, including myself, knew what they were going to Bulgaria for….the first time. But if God is calling you He will show you and if He is calling you back it is for a reason. As we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, individually and as a team, we will see very quickly what God wants to do and then even the finer details will be revealed as we go. Actually, that is part of the fun. The trip usually opens up like a surprise package.

    I too am looking forward to this trip and to see what God is going to do. Each year has been unique and has had its’ unique challenges as well as its unique blessings and surprises. We have seen things as majestic as the mountains and it has been as explosive as a quarter stick of dynamite in a canyon. We have lit up the skies at night and have watched the sun light up the day over the ocean. We have watched hearts become warm, eyes light up with understanding and have had are own moments of wonder and revelation, about ourselves and about God

    It will be interesting to see how God will provide and what great things God will do not only by April 14th but between June 29- to July 12