Anyone that has spent more than ten minutes with me KNOWS how thankful I am to be associated with the heroic men and women who serve as our military missionaries overseas. Also the equal passion for conveying the strategic importance the Ministry to the Military (MTTM) is to the Harvest of Jesus Christ. You might be surprised to know that I called for these great men and women of God to help me lead a strategic change in our approach to our mission.
We launched a new perspective for MTTM ministry at the European Leadership Training Conference in Germany last week. It is my intent to bring a similar emphasis to our leaders in the Far East, the Southern Command and the USA. There has been some “broiling” and controversy in the wake of this meeting. My response to this debate?—Great! We need to dig-in to this subject, take it seriously, find out just what it means to us and then DO SOMETHING about. I’m not at all interested in just presenting some things we forget about the moment we walk out the door. I called for radical, immediate and continuous change.
So what’s all the fuss about it?
I presented a session entitled “Going Global; Thriving by learning to cross borders.” This was not so much a new perspective as it was an urgent cry for us to refocus on our existing vision and values with a missional awareness of the current world environment. It is a new way of looking at an old mission. It became a bit controversial when I suggested many of us had committed to the harvest closest to our doors while losing sight of our commitment to develop the ministry globally. I challenged our leaders to realign their efforts behind a truly global perspective—a commitment to relevant ministry locally and effective MTTM around the globe.
What does it mean to ‘develop a global mindset?’ I offered four guidelines:
Having a global mindset means…
1. a willingness to ‘cross borders’. Not just geographical crossings but to seek out people of other cultures, languages, ethnicity, socio-economic standing. When we make the effort to cross a border we are saying that person is just as important to God as we are and we show them respect. Crossing borders requires that you see the poor, the hungry, the destitute and you learn ways you can connect.
2. you go and act to deliberately, intentionally interact with a culture beyond your own to bring them benefit. When this ‘border crossing’ becomes a way of life we will understand that we cross borders to show the love of Christ. We show the love of Christ by deliberate attempts to discover needs and to meet them.
3. It does not mean to reject or deny our own culture or nationality. In fact, without a clear and healthy sense of who and what we are and the culture that shaped us, it is very difficult to learn how to understand and accept others. We can only really understand and appreciate differences if we are first clear on what has been and what continues to be important to us.
4. you will passionately keep the over-arching perspective in view as well as burn for those you have personally crossed borders to reach. The Great Commission of Jesus is our model. Jesus loved, healed and served those directly in front of him as well as sending us into the whole world.
Bottom line to all of this? We start by reaching those closest to us—military, DOD and families. We then involve them in touching the world around us—near and far. The pattern is in Acts 1:8…Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. We cannot be a New Testament movement unless we have a demonstrated committment to the Harvest both locally and globally. If we put one over the other we are missing the mark!