I went to CrossCon solely because there were very few on the sign up list for the conference and frankly, I felt bad. I was loath to give up family time at holidays. Plus, I was afraid of what God might tell me there. I am finally getting settled here and would prefer not to have another upheaval. As a wise friend of mine pointed out "God can speak to you here too. You do know that, right?" Thus, I bribed my brother into going with me because I didn't want to be completely away from family for the 5 days I was going to be gone. I slowly loosened the grip on my money (that was heart condition revelation) and signed up. Having been there and back, I can say I am thankful God sent me there.
I will not give you a run down on the plenary speakers. ( If you want to read a comprehensive report back visit my friend Lawson Hembree's blog. He is doing a series.) Instead, I'll tell you some of the things that stuck out to me in the order that they come to my mind.
The missionary call is informed by Scripture, inspired by the Gospel, and confirmed by the church (can I get an AMEN!?). No one is to be a lone ranger missionary. You should be a member of a local body. If you think that God is moving you to be a missionary to an unreached people group then you need to seek the counsel of your church leadership. They may tell you that you are not ready to go.
Missionary is an arbitrary term. It was defined for us for the purpose of the conference by Pastor John as one who moves a new location to cross cultural and language barriers to bring the Gospel to a people who have not heard nor have ready access to hearing it. This is to say it is one who brings the Gospel to unreached (less than 2% EV) or unengaged peoples by living among them. Even in the discussion of this there was a bit of fluidity. There are unreached people groups within the US so the exact defining is a twinge difficult.
We are all called to consider and further missions but we are not all called to be missionaries. The command in Scripture is to further the Gospel but we see that Paul did not call everyone in each of the churches he visited to get up, abandon their way of life, and travel to unreached people as he did. What he did say was in essence "hold the rope".
The missionary call is not about super Christian vs. normal Christian. It is about obedience. We are to obey God. If He says go, He has spoken to you through His Word, inspired your heart by His Gospel, and confirmed His call by your Church, you better move. There are those who stay and those who go both are on the same level of "Christian" if they are walking in obedience. (LOVED this)
A healthy church every where is not too much to ask. God has called us to function together in a body not to be lone-rangers. We see that wherever Paul went he stayed until there was a church. We do not leave babies out in the cold with no food or shelter. The Gospel is shared. Men are converted. Churches are planted.
We need men. Women can share with and disciple other women. We take care of many needs in the church but we cannot pastor and teach men. There is a great need for men with sound doctrine to rise up and take the Good News out and lead churches.
This is not about social justice. It is about sharing the Gospel. All missions is to be Christ focused. All men have sin, not dirty themselves with sinful acts, but are sinful by nature. God's judgement is coming on all the guilty- ones who have sin. Jesus took the wrath of God on the cross for anyone who trusts in Him. Forsake your sin and believe that Jesus is able to save you.
Earthly suffering while unavoidable is redeemable. Eternal suffering is avoidable and once experienced there is no turning back. A paraphrase of a point made by Michael Oh in his sermon during a plenary session.
Consider moving to a large city to just be a spot light or add some saltiness. As the majority of the world moves away from rural and into the city, specifically mega-cities, it is going to be more and more important that as Christians we do not settle for the easy life. It may be that we should move to the city and plug into a local body there.
Business as missions is seriously viable. This is not cloaking your missionary entrance into a country by pretending to be a shop owner. This is doing profitable business in a dark area that needs Jesus. This is doing what all the pagans think is awesome which is moving to a foreign country to work - just because you can. And as you live out your life people will see Jesus and be converted. Consider Liferay.
I have concluded that:
a. I am a visionary. No lie. I was pretty much clueless to this fact.
b. I go in and out of being super excited and kind of afraid of being called to be a missionary.
c. My desire to send was confirmed. I have been thinking about how to use my money wisely and this conference
just made me think "Sure, I can leave but if I stay I can send a lot
more." Ever since our missionaries from Spain visited this fall I have be considering yet again if I am being obedient by being here. Clear as a bell one Sunday it seemed that I was being told to send because for a single woman I have a lot. I am now praying about how that "lot" needs to be shared.*
for lost people
for Believers in those unreached/unengaged groups
for missionaries on the field
* By the end of the conference I was sure this was right. As of the past two days. I have no idea. Maybe Spain it is or East Asia or someplace I have never been or I am to do DHYG stuff somewhere or, or, or.... I should just pray.