Almost two years ago, just before graduating from Texas A&M, I wrote a blog post with this same title. At that point, I had very little idea what the next two years of my life would look like. I didn’t have a clue how God would move. I didn’t know He would soon provide exactly the amount of support I needed for my residency. I didn’t know He would make some of my first connections in Austin ones that proved crucial to the direction my life would eventually be moving in. I didn’t know He would develop me in character and theology to the extent that He has. All I knew was that I was supposed to be a part of taking the gospel to the ends of the Earth.
The idea of missions was something I had heard about my entire life, but it wasn’t until March of 2016 that God would reveal some crazy things to me through some incredible friends, the book of Mark, a handful of sermon podcasts, and a group of international college students from Turkey in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Going into my residency at the Austin Stone, I knew about the church’s history of sending many people to unreached countries around the world and its desire to send more. The Lord ordered my steps from day 1 in such a way that as soon as I moved to Austin I was able to start learning how to more adequately share my faith, make disciples, and prepare for an opportunity to join the number of believers that have been launched to the other side of the world from this body in Austin.
As I’ve been learning in a more intense setting over the past 9 months what it would look like to uproot my entire life and move across the globe, one important detail of my story keeps coming to mind. Someone had to explicitly tell me about the need for the gospel amongst the unreached peoples of the world. I don’t know if I hadn’t been listening or simply couldn’t (or didn’t want to) understand for much of my life, but the reality that many people in our world would live their entire lives without hearing the gospel and knowing Jesus as their salvation was Earth-shattering for me as a 22-year-old who was raised in the church. How many other Christians out there are just like I was for so long? How many believers’ lives would change if someone shared this crucial information with them?
These two questions have led me to the next thing that God has given me the opportunity to do. Beginning in August 2018, I will remain on staff at the Austin Stone as a part of the mobilization team. My role will give me the opportunity to do these three main things:
- DISCOVER – I will spend a lot of my time meeting with people who may have been exactly how I was just two years ago. I’ll get to help members of our church body here in Austin discover how they too can use their gifts and the way God has designed them to see the gospel go forth into the darkest and most hostile places in the world, whether that be sending others or going themselves.
- DEVELOP – I’ll lead a group of believers set on seeing the gospel go to the nations in a disciple-making team here in Austin that we call a Goer Missional Community (GMC). A Phase 1 GMC is 10 weeks long and focuses on making disciples in your current context, such as at work, at school, or in your neighborhood, while a Phase 2 GMC is a more intense, 9-month commitment to learn to make disciples cross-culturally and be a part of the team that goes abroad long-term.
- DEPLOY – This is certainly the hardest, but also best, part of my future job. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few, so the goal is to connect people who have a love for God’s global mission to teams in other countries so that they can join in the work that has already started among the unreached. Knowing I’m sending people to almost surely be persecuted and in danger for their faith is enough to keep me up night after night, but I know that they will be able to confidently count their lives of no value to themselves if only they can complete the ministry they have received from Jesus Christ (paraphrased Acts 20:24).
After a short stint in this role, my ultimate goal is still to be the boots on the ground in a place with no established church and little-to-no multiplying disciples. I want to use the tools I’ve learned here in my residency to see people worship Jesus in places of the world that he’s never been worshipped before! I want to see worship leaders rise up in countries with languages in which the name “Jesus” does not even exist. He is SO worthy to be worshipped by people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, so we cannot stop until that is accomplished. The good news is this: Revelation 5:9 promises that it WILL BE fulfilled!
Praise God that He has already won the battle, yet He still invites us to be part of the fight.