When it comes to Christian missions, we live in interesting times. I thought about this last night as I listened to a young American woman talk about the ministry that she and her husband do in southeast Asia (I will not refer to her by name or to the location where the couple works.) She is an articulate and attractive person who is using her creative gifts to reach out to people through a holistic ministry grounded in her Christian faith. Her parents have both been involved in Southern Baptist causes for years. This woman served with Cooperative Baptist missionaries in southeast Asia for two years after college. While there, she met a young man from another country working with an independent missionary agency. After her term of service, he came to the states, met her parents, they became engaged, married, and returned to their new home to work with the aforementioned missions group.
To understand where we are in missions work today, let's get this straight. Here is a young woman from a Southern Baptist background whose missions vision was broadened by her work with CBF missionaries and she is now working with a non-denominational group. Here's the next layer--her parents have been supportive of her work all along and have not been "turned off" by her involvement first with CBF and now with a non-denominational group. In fact, they are seeking out individuals and churches who will support the work. Here's the third layer--the state CBF coordinator arranged for her to speak to his church's missions committee and youth group about her work!
Does this seem strange to you? Maybe it's because I am still shaking off the old denominational paradigm of missions service, but I don't think this would have happened even ten years ago. Could it be that our vision of missions and being a missional people is changing and growing?
I could go on to make comments about the creative, cutting edge ministry that this couple is doing in their new home, but that is a story for another day. Right now, I am still amazed at how God works. Surely God has a sense of humor!