It looks like cleaning a church, and prayer walking, and evangelism. It looks like sorting through papers in an office, and helping out with youth ministry, and painting cardboard for a church production. It looks like a lot of random small jobs to bless one church and as a by-product, the community. My heart was happy to be helping, but my mind questioned what this outreach was. Did God bring us all the way here to help out a church? Doesn't he want to do something radical?
He knows me so well. He sees me—this jet-setting, go-getter – ready to save the world with my brilliance, and He tugs on my shirt, “Not so fast little lady… We've got some learning to do…” Remember that? Learning?
And then I remembered. Right before we left for outreach, Pathfinders DTS was having a prayer and worship time. Our leader posed a question to us, “What would this outreach look like out of God’s strength instead of your own?” God showed me two pictures; the first was my outreach team and I running on treadmills, and we were running fast. Faster than I've ever seen, we were exhausted but we were efficient. However, despite the speed and the seeming efficiency, we weren't going anywhere. We were completely stationary. The second picture He showed me was my outreach team and I strolling through a field. And when I say strolling, that could be considered quite an exaggeration because I didn't realize it was even physically possible for human beings to move that slowly. But nonetheless, we were moving somewhere, and by the time we looked back we had travelled kilometers.
It's so easy to be on a mission. It's so easy to follow the Lord’s leading somewhere and get carried away with the idea. It's so easy to get caught up in what the most efficient, radical, and world changing thing can be. It's so easy, that sometimes we begin to forget the one who sent us in the first place. In my vision, doing things out of God’s strength was slow, and it was a process – but it had substance. God had forewarned me what this outreach would be, and here I was a few days in doubting the reason God brought me here. The reality is following the Lord somewhere doesn't always mean it will be the most efficient or impactful by our standards. That's because we only have limited perspectives, we can't see the whole picture. God, however, has an eternal perspective, and sometimes I think He likes to advance the Kingdom in the sneakiest sort of ways.
Which means it won't always look blatantly obvious or radical. Sometimes it's small and slow, but just as victorious and impactful, our little eyes just can't see it yet. But I know that God has purpose in all He does, and bringing my outreach team to this place wasn't without intention. God doesn't fit into a box, and He can move just as much in the small things as He can the big things.
So take heart and remember that God isn't limited just to the crazy, radical movements and revivals. He's just as present in the mundane and everyday, and sometimes that is where we can discover the sweetest revelation of who He is.
-Kara Smith (Pathfinders DTS Student, August 2016)