For whatever reason, the apostle Paul has a reputation of being a “lone ranger”. Perhaps it was because he was a pioneer church planter and could never seem to settle in one place. Or maybe it’s because he appeared to operate under a “my way or the highway” mentality (See Acts 15:36).
Whatever the reason, this reputation gets passed on to missionaries. Missionaries can be the loneliest people in the church because they have a hard time finding others who share their passion for the nations. They can easily take on this “lone ranger” mentality and go out on their own.
But on closer examination, the apostle Paul was deeply invested and connected in community. Just one look at the end of his letter to the Romans and you can tell that his relationships were deep and personal even if Paul was away in another city.
And so my heart for our future missionaries at Evergreen SGV is that they may all be deeply invested and connected in community as Paul was. That is why about a year ago, I started a Missions Mentoring Group to meet monthly with people within our church who sense a calling overseas and are wrestling with what to do now. It is amazing how powerful it is when like-minded people with similar passions gather. All of sudden people realize they are not alone and do not have to move forward all by themselves.
The culmination of our gatherings was our first ever Missions Mentoring Retreat held in May. There was no “speaker” except the ten individuals who shared their life stories, highlighting how God gave them a heart for the nations. There was no “program” except the questions and time of prayer that followed each sharing. What resulted was a powerful time where each person was affirmed and encouraged in who God had called them to be. (photo above)
In a few months, about half of the group will be off in different places around the world. If they were merely individuals going about their own ways, it would be a sorry end. But they will go out as brothers and sisters together bound and compelled by the love of God to the nations.
Let’s pray that this reputation would stand with every missionary we send out.