Growing up, I had very romantic ideas about missionary work.
It was all safari shirts and pith helmets. Hacking through the underbrush. Going to remote villages in faraway places. Being the first outsider to learn their language. All to bring them the Gospel.
Even when actual missionaries came to talk about what they did (and reality started to creep in), missionary work was still something that was done “over there.”
We sent missionaries to them. Because they needed help. We were good. We had the whole Jesus thing down.
Back then, a church in the poorer part of town had a welcome sign by their parking lot. They still do.
The memorable part? The back of their sign. It says “you are now entering the mission field.”
It’s the last thing people see when they leave that church.
Back in the day, I was pretty dismissive of what I thought was their misguided focus.
Turns out they were right all along.
More on this tomorrow.