Broadened Vision through a Narrowed Scope

Coming into this new venture of what most people call “full-time ministry,” I knew to expect the unexpected, but I suppose I still didn’t necessarily expect what I would stumble upon my first week. As an SGWM missionary, I’ve gotten to experience some really cool things this first week and a half at our headquarters, including the beginning of some training for one of our dear brothers in a sensitive country to direct some of the vision he has for sending missionaries out from his own ministry! I’ve been a part of some meetings on how to best bless our missionaries and get their stories in front of the body of Christ. And of course, I’ve been getting really excited preparing to teach through the prison epistles to one of our schools of ministry in Asia via Skype starting in a little over a week. How incredible that I get to be a small part of reaching the nations!

However, one of my first jobs here has been the organization of my church’s annual Front Yard Parties for Halloween. On a holiday where many unsaved people literally come knocking on our doors, our church had a vision to have different groups around the communities where our church is represented to serve the community with fun, food, and a safe place for kids to play and neighbors to chat over coffee. What a way to open up doors to share the Gospel!

I love this picture that one of our brothers in Christ captured at my Life Group’s Front Yard Party from this week on Halloween. I think it portrays exactly the goal of these parties: to be a beacon of Christ’s light in our communities on what can be a very spiritually dark night.

With five different parties going on in one night with lots of food, candy, machines, and bounce houses to go out, you can imagine that this event can be a chore administratively. There was a lot of work that went into this and a lot of really helpful hands from amazing people. I was tempted to think that making grocery store runs for hot dogs and calling bounce house vendors is maybe not the most important “Kingdom Work.” But the Lord has really used this experience, especially as I’ve seen how all of these parties have played out, to broaden my vision for missions by narrowing my scope into our own backyards. As I’m working with and praying for brothers and sisters overseas in hard-to-reach areas, I can sometimes miss that our communities need the gospel too. And so, as I’ve seen all of the fruit coming from this event, all of the Gospel conversations and neighbors feeling the love of Christ from us, I can truly say it’s been an honor to play a role in these Front Yard Parties. And no less than some of the other responsibilities I hold with helping to train and equip servants of Jesus worldwide, this first project of mine has very much been a missions project.

Working the popcorn machine at my own Life Group’s front yard party

Soli Deo Gloria!
Joel, Amy, Maggie, Harrison, and Jude