International Ministries

Box? What box?

May 17, 2013 Journal
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In the donut... outta the box!  That's what mission was like for me, this week.

The donut.  Due to its round shape--including, yes, a b-i-g grassy space in the middle--the structure American Baptists built 50 years ago to provide office space to the leaders of the movement and its mission agencies has long been called informally, by its appearance from the air, "the donut."  More formally, we call it the, er, "Holy Donut."

I spent this last week "in the donut."  But this donut spent the whole week, "out of the box."  Our assortment of Daily Specials included:

Monday - praying and exploring possibilities with an incredible young woman who has already spent several years answering God's call to jump "out of the box" and into one form after another of missionary service.

Tuesday - reflecting, praying and looking ahead with another amazing woman, now mid-career in missionary service, jumping out of one style of service and into something very different.

Wednesday - giving thanks for a lifetime of service with yet another amazing woman who is completing her career with International Ministries... and eagerly anticipating our future work together for the Kingdom.  "Retirement?"  Not going near that box!

Thursday - praying, laughing uproariously and dancing in jubilee as two of IM's senior accounting staff led a totally "out of the box" celebration to recognize the faithful service of various American Baptist organizations here in the donut.  Accounting staff?  Out of the box??  Wonderfully!!

Friday - praying, imagining and rejoicing with a gifted and experienced urban missionary who is bringing a career-full of creative and courageous cross-cultural service in the U.S. into an "out of the box" assignment with IM.

This morning as we talked, my friend and colleague Ben Chan exclaimed, "Box?  What box?!"  We are living in a time of constant innovation, not only in the tech world, but also in the ways and means God is providing for the pursuit of Christ's mission in the world.  It seems as though the time of "boxes"--stable, recurring patterns--has been reduced to a speck in the rearview mirror.

God is on the move, and we are scrambling along after.  It can be challenging, but it also seems just about right today, as we prepare to celebrate Pentecost.  Come Holy Spirit.  Breathe new life into us.  Be the wind beneath our wings.  Lift us out of the box and carry us... not where we would go, but where you are going. 


p.s.  Thank you so much for letting the Spirit use you to lift up this ministry with your prayers and your gifts.  If you have been thinking about making a gift to support one of IM's missionaries, now would be a particularly effective time to do so, with the current Matching Gift Opportunity!