Our Mission Field: Philadelphia

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  • September 29, 2009

Our Mission Field

I recently spoke with some folks who expressed their frustration of going to a great church but not feeling like they were really serving. They had grown up being actively involved in ministry in their local church and were unaccustomed to sitting the sidelines. I love their heart. It’s rare today because we see the church through such consumeristic lenses that we think “How can the church serve me?” far more often than “How can I serve the church?”

But I think the reason seasoned Christians can get frustrated is because we’ve lost the sense of being on mission. We’ve come to see ministry in terms of defined roles and positions and titles. Unless we’re on stage, or teaching, or singing, or whatever – we feel like we’re not plugged in and serving. Now this is easy coming from the guy who gets to speak from the pulpit each week. But I really believe it.

Take a moment to write down what your life would look like if you were a missionary in Uganda. What things would go on the list?

a. Learning the language, culture, customs
b. Building friendships with people
c. Praying for people and for opportunities to share the Gospel
d. Serving in various capacities (children, mercy for the marginalized, volunteering, etc)
e. Speaking the Gospel to people and living the Gospel before people

The list could keep going. The hardest thing to convince us seasoned Christians is that we are missionaries – only God has called us to Philadelphia and not overseas. We’re called to do everything on that list – except we’re called to do it right here in Philly, right now. We love missions overseas and eagerly look forward to the day when we can send people across the globe to share the good news of Jesus. But how silly would it be to send people across the globe without also sending them across the street? What would my life look like today, this week, if I took this seriously? What if every member of Seven Mile Road saw themselves as a missionary? Taking this seriously means we all have a vital role to play at Seven Mile Road. Everyone of us. Not just the guys on stage.

Maybe God will call you to Uganda. Maybe He’ll give you a defined position and a title. But till that day comes, don’t sit the sidelines waiting to be in ministry or on mission.

A preacher once said, “Crossing a sea doesn’t make you a missionary. Seeing the cross makes you one.” Right.

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About Ajay Thomas

Ajay lives in Philadelphia with his wife Shainu and their kids Hannah and Micah. He is responsible for preaching and vision as a pastor at Seven Mile Road.

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