What are you doing for God?
I think I understand your question and concerns. I am often tempted to ask the same one myself. Marc (my husband) and I went to Bible College and were “imparted with the vision” for reaching the lost. We got involved in many programs and projects that came down the pike and in all reality, saw very few true conversions based on our efforts. The fruit that we did bear was exhaustion, a dirty house, a son who needed to see his parents much, much more, and a marriage that was on the verge of collapse. Marc and I hadn’t gone on a date in years and in all actuality, had forgotten why we had gotten married in the first place. When we pulled away from the institutional church and began to meet relationally – we were set free from the pressure of the organized church to “perform great feats of evangelical style on the high wire” and we began to be a *real* light to our neighbors and co-workers in showing them that we were real people. They were no longer our “projects.” God placed real respect and love in our hearts for those people who were in our sphere of influence. I no longer felt like an Amway representative (no offence to any Amway people out there. I’ve just had too many spaghetti dinners in the name of “friendship” to count!). So, I guess the point I wanted to make was that I try to silence the ambition I sometimes feel in my soul to want to win the entire world. I know that God didn’t put that into my heart. I just try to be faithful in my part of the garden and, in my opinion, if everyone were faithful in that — the church would be far more impacting. Marc has done long-term missions work in Africa and Mexico when we were in the institutional church. However, we have been far more impacting by living the life in front of our neighbors. I have babysat neighbor kids, allowed neighbors to use my in- home copy machine, have had them over for dinner, have taken them on errands in my car, have prayed with them over various situations, helped their kids with their homework, etc. This is a lot more difficult than the impersonal missionary efforts we were involved with in the institutional church. This may not be true for all institutional church missionary groups, but it was that way for us. Living this life in front of people and accountable to people is much harder than going somewhere else and never having to see those people again after you leave. Some would argue that we are in our “nice and warm” homes being safe and not giving a care to what is going outside our little group. That is just nonsense. Our group is not what I would call “nice” and “warm.” We get in there and deal with a lot of tough issues and occasionally we even have some yelling and crying, yet Jesus is building a love within us for each other that I’ve never known. Marc and I had prayed for years for God to link us up with people who we could “be the church” with. We have some semblance of health in our group and I can see growth in us all. So, other than being a healthy part of the Lord’s body and being faithful to reaching those in our particular sphere of influence… what is the big picture? I understand that there are those who are called in different ways to do different things. We should all obey whatever that call for our life is. However, to try to put the same call “to go” on everyone or to trivialize their efforts at being faithful within their communities is a familiar form of pressure that I’ll just have to pass on.