We sat in the living room on our last day of training for Work Crew before our month of service at a Young Life Camp. One of the leaders had said going to camp was like being in Narnia, where we were swept up in the adventure and overwhelming feeling of love. But then we have to go home. We never want to leave Narnia, but we have to in order to share what we’ve learned with others.
Several weeks ago, I read Making Missionary Disciples by Curtis Martin. As the founder of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), Martin describes the ways missionaries practice the three habits of Divine Intimacy, Authentic Friendship, and Clarity and Conviction about Spiritual Multiplication. FOCUS also teaches the method of win, build, and send to make disciples. Yes, this book reinforced the steps I had already learned in Young Life and from FOCUS missionaries. Yet, the read is short, sweet, and worth it in the way it calls everyone to be a missionary, just as Jesus does.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“…a willingness to step out of our comfort zone so that God can prove His faithfulness over and over.”
In this section on Divine Intimacy, Martin listed practices to help us grow deeper in our relationship with Christ. Among the importance of participation in the rosary and sacraments, the words over and over stood out to me. We are consistently being called to leave mediocrity behind and trust in His plans. The journey ahead is unknown and challenging, but His forgiveness is limitless.
Pope Benedict XVI said, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” By stepping out of our comfort zone to reach out to a friend, try something new, or make a big change, we answer God’s call for us to be great. He wants us to live abundantly with Him. Jesus sends us on the Great Commission. He is calling us to be bold, to do something bigger than ourselves or what we thought we were capable of, and lead others to His embrace.
Secondly, I remember a talk from one of the missionaries after we returned from New Mexico, teaching us how to live out mission. For some reason, I remember the missionary mentioning that even when working to make disciples, there would be suffering. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” Not only are we working to care for others in a broken world, but we are not perfect. Even so, we need to be willing. In the middle of doubt, fear, and working through our own sin, God proves His faithfulness again and again. He’s never tired of forgiving us and sending us out in love.
“He did not passively wait in the synagogue for people to come to Him. He did not make announcements about the next faith formation night He was offering. He went out to the people…”
Martin references Jesus in this quote and acknowledges the ways He took action. Another thing the missionary mentioned was that the Great Commission says GO and make disciples, not sit around and wait for things to happen. It’s our job to go into our everyday lives and spread the Gospel. Matthew 9:37 describes Jesus’ compassion on the world, telling His disciples “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few…” Jesus desires everyone to be in a relationship with Him. It’s up to us to fill ourselves spiritually and then serve others as He did.
“Being so affectionately desirous for you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Young Life and FOCUS use this verse in training leaders and missionaries. As the Great Commission sends us out to fight for souls, this verse tells us how. When walking alongside others in friendship, we are not only inviting them into a deeper relationship with the Lord, but sharing how He has worked through us.
I hope you check out this book. But more importantly, I hope you imitate Jesus in stepping away from what is known and spreading the Gospel courageously. It’s not going to be easy. But everyone deserves to know Christ’s love and mercy, especially in today’s world. So, let’s go. There’s work to do.