A Learning to Share

A Learning to Share

The specter of burnout is something that we all deal with on the missional journey.  I do not have an easy or simple elixir for it, but we have learned something that has helped us to keep it at bay among the people who participate with us in the mission.  What we have learned is that the mission, for us, always involves at least two people.  It isn’t that from time to time we don’t have to do a chore or two by ourselves.  Sometimes doing things by ourselves is a reality.  We call things that we do alone “service” or “chores”.  What we have learned is that if our faith journey, or our lives for that matter, involved doing nothing but chores, we would all burn out rather quickly.  So we have learned to take the Biblical example for mission very seriously – they were sent out two by two.

Having someone with us is an important aspect of the “Object and Subject” nature of living out the mission of the Kingdom.  Relationships feed us. “Doing with” feeds us in a way that “doing for” does not.  It can even be argued that relationships are the very culture where the Kingdom is grown and participated in.  Having learned this the hard way, we do not support missions that are primarily accomplished by just one person. We encourage people to serve the Lord in whatever way that they feel called has called them to serve as a part of mature faith and calling, but we do not support “individual efforts” as a part of the mission. The world is a better place because of individual acts of goodness and kindness, but we do not call that “mission”.  Over ten years, we have seen those things that are constantly done alone take the life out of the journey for people time and time again.  Once in a while, due to a temporary necessity? Yes. As one aspect of a life of faith? Yes. But as the sole outlet for God’s love? No.  As a part of missional planning? Never.

Find someone to take with you.  We encourage people to invite a friend who isn’t yet connected to the mission, and use the needs of the mission as a reason to invite them. “Hey, I have to go and do the purchasing for a food pantry I am committed to, and I need an extra hand.  Do you think you could give me a couple of hours this week?  Maybe we could get some lunch, too.  It’ll be fun and if I don’t get it done, a couple hundred people won’t eat this week. I really could use your help.” Over the years, this Way of being has borne much fruit in the lives of those who are in mission, and in the lives of those who are invited into the mission with us.  Give it shot…nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

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