myMISSION Leader Blog

Do Not Fear

One question has been a theme of several conversations lately. What would we do—live, be, accomplish, or even attempt—if we did not fear? What would we do as leaders?

I heard a song on my radio app this morning, “To the Very End” by Will Reagan and United Pursuit Band. The lyrics include, “You can have all my fears, God. . . . I know You’re with me to the very end.”

The Christmas echo still rings in my ear: Emmanuel, God with us. How does the reality of Christ’s presence change how we live? How does it change how we lead?

Even the Great Commission is empowered by God with us through Jesus’ promised presence. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b NIV). If Jesus’ presence with us truly makes a difference, then what is it that seems to hold us back? What do we fear? Is it conflict, pain, loss, or failure of some kind? What is it for you?

Light Makes a Difference

Light is beautiful. And fascinating. Light makes a difference. It changes darkness instantly. There is so much darkness in our world. What would it take for God’s light to shine in new ways this Christmas season?

I watched a documentary recently on the Star of Bethlehem. It is amazing all God did to point to the Christ child, to celebrate this awesome gift. A light, pointing the way.

I wonder, how can we point others to Christ during this special time of year? How can we be light to others? Would there be a simple, humble corner of the earth where we could be that light, even to those as meek as shepherds? And would God use it to call even people as important as Magi from the East, to Himself?

Enter Another’s Story

Being a leader isn’t easy. But then again, being a follower isn’t always easy either. Maybe “easy” isn’t what we should be going for.

I work at WMU and it’s a huge blessing. My team recently had the opportunity to visit a ministry site where I made a new friend. God gave us a moment together on a bench outside. “Easy” wasn’t in her vocabulary, if you know what I mean. What she shared was more like a journey. She is trusting God in new ways and taking one step at a time. I look forward to going back and seeing her again. But what if I had missed the opportunity to make a new friend, to enter into another’s story?

It isn’t easy to slow down, to listen, to act, to love, and to find the time. As leaders, we sometimes feel the pressure to be a few steps ahead, setting the pace, being responsible. What if we could learn to be more intentional in our presence with people? What would it look like to lead others to do the same?

Who Am I?

Daughter, sister, wife, mom, friend?

Student, teacher, medical professional, sales representative?

Missionary, church staff, volunteer, leader, advocate?

We constantly need to ask ourselves, Is who I am defined by my group of friends or family? Is it defined by my status, job, or leadership position?

The Christian answer is simple: be defined by who we are in Christ. Our identity is in Him—saved, adopted, and loved forever. But is it that simple? What gets in our way?

Temptation, as in the Garden of Eden and with Jesus in the wilderness, comes at us with words that attempt to repaint reality and cast doubt on the truth we know.

In the Garden of Eden, God made man in His own image and His likeness. It was good, and everything was whole. There was freedom, choice, meaningful work, togetherness, and the absence of shame.

A Beautiful Mystery

September is a great month . . . Fall is just around the corner while summer is still hanging on for one last breath of warm air. Summer can give us the feeling of taking a break. September puts us back on track and brings us back to reality, in a good way.

Students are getting their schedules and signing up for programs and activities. Professionals may be starting their first “real” job or getting back into the swing of things. Moms may be still trying to figure out how to get their infant to sleep through the night and maybe themselves as well. Or they are packing lunches, helping with homework, and figuring out a new balance for home life.

As leaders, we often wonder, what does God want now? Whatever season of life we find ourselves in, how will we define success? What will it take to know God’s will in this new day-to-day reality?

One missionary friend says that she is in transition, asking that same question. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, how do we know God’s will today?

So Far, So Good?

How’s your summer so far?

So far, I’ve had a picnic, seen a movie, slept in at least once, and hung out with friends. Thankfully, I love my job so I actually enjoy going to work, but I love getting off work as well to step into nature for at least a bit before dinner.

And then there’s the trip planning. Guess where I went? I was able to share about myMISSION at the WMU Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration in St. Louis, Missouri. What an amazing opportunity! So many things were going on—evangelism and service opportunities in the city, reports from all the missions agencies, connections with friends both new and old, fun food to try, and different sessions to hear more about missions. We prayed and worshipped together, attended breakout sessions for different age groups, and found out about opportunities to jump into all year long. I loved getting to talk with people about where God is leading them and what missions opportunities they are seeking. We are celebrating all that God is doing in our world.

Summer Plans

Summer . . . plans. Really? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Summer is not supposed to be about plans. It’s about not having to have a plan! Or at least I used to think so. I guess summer as a grown-up isn’t always quite that free. I remember the feeling of getting out of the last day of school without a care in the world. I had nothing to do and no expectations—just rest, TV, making up games in the yard, or spending time with my grandparents. It was awesome, for a while. It didn’t take long to find out that there were still household chores to do, some expectations of others, and, in the South, a humid heat that drains your energy. Oh, and boredom, sunburns, and mosquitos.

I didn’t make plans back then but I’m pretty sure someone was making them. Summers are pretty awesome, but maybe having a plan isn’t such a bad idea after all.

May I Rest?

May . . .

I love May . . .

Warm air, sunshine, flowers, birds, strawberries—even mangos—my local store has mangos! What’s not to love? We have a holiday in May. It’s the end of school. My daughter was born in May. I love May . . .

So why am I tired? I don’t know about you but for some reason, this year, I’m not finding that extra boost of energy and excitement. Everything is good; it’s actually great! My family is great. I am happy, healthy, loving my job, growing in a community, and having opportunities to be on mission. Hmm . . . maybe, this May, I just need a bit of rest.

When you lead something—a group, a family, a trip, anything—you can become tired. I hear it’s OK to be tired. Jesus was tired. He took time to sleep in a boat, walk in a garden, pray alone, go to weddings, talk with friends, and even rest at a well.

Annie’s Example

Have you ever heard of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions? Have you ever heard of Annie Armstrong? Chances are, if you grew up in a Southern Baptist church you would have heard of her each year at this time. If you are new, this might sound like a distant history lesson:

Annie Armstrong was a lay leader in Southern Baptist life in the 1800s. And guess what? She started out in what we would call today myMISSION. By the age of 31, this single young woman was helping to start a mission organization in her home city of Baltimore. She was soon using her gifts at the state and national levels. At the age of 37, she helped start Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) and strategically led it to become the global influence it is today. At the age of 55, “Miss Annie” left the organization in capable hands and focused the rest of her life on grassroots works in her city.

Annie was a young woman who changed her city, state, nation, and world. Are there any “Annies” in your myMISSION group?

What could we be doing today that could change our world in our lifetime?

Different Is Good!

What does it mean to be a leader? I think it can mean many different things. I’ve had the privilege of starting 2 different myMISSION groups and have loved every minute of it! I lived in Seattle, Washington for a few years—that was where I started my first group. I now live in Birmingham, Alabama, and I just helped to start another group. They are very different from each other but I’m loving it . . . I said that already, right?

Different is good. I’m learning that God is doing something different in each of our lives and that our groups can reflect that amazing collage. So many different colors and shapes, different callings and places in life, different opportunities, different ways of growing—different is good!

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