An odd group of people are expected in our community today.
When I say odd, I don’t mean they are odd individuals, but rather an odd assembly. There are 16 in all, ranging in age from teenagers to retired, men and women, all from South Carolina.
They are on a mission, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Their purpose is as laser sharp as any military expedition, but it is carried out as part of a long-term assignment, 2,000 plus years long.
They won’t march in step or carry any weapons. They won’t dress in any recognizable uniform, in fact they’ll look just like you and me. The only recognizable difference will likely be that southern drawl and they may call you “y’all.”
They come every year, and though they know exactly why they come, they are never sure what they will do when they get here. Despite that uncertainty, they come with confidence that whatever they end up doing will be the right thing.
As I said, they are on a mission, a church mission to be precise. These people hail from three different churches but are none-the-less united in purpose. It is part of what Christians commonly see as the Great Commission, the call by Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations.
When Jesus issued His marching orders, about 2,000 years ago, He was talking to His closest disciples, the famous 12. But Christians everywhere have come to embrace that call as central to the Christian movement universally, and is expected of each of us who follow Christ.
In earlier years, people in North America took this as a challenge to reach areas of the world which may have been untouched by the Biblical truth of the New Testament, otherwise known as the good news of Jesus Christ.
For decades, even centuries, mission work involved travel to Africa, South American and Asia. But in recent years, these continents have been the growth centres of the Christian movement. While we were busy sending missions and missionaries throughout the world, neglect and decay was slowly eroding the Christian foundation at home.
So now it is our turn. Now the missions come here. In fact, North America is today’s mission field and dauntless missionaries, in small groups like our visiting friends from South Carolina now criss-cross Canada and the United States in an effort to serve as living examples of the radical love of Jesus.
These folks are not Bible thumpers poised to stuff the great tome down anyone’s throat. On the contrary, like Christ, they come to serve. They pay their own way, arrange their own accommodations and foot the bill for their meals. They ask nothing more than, “How can we help?”
Points of Hope Church, the one that meets at the theatre in the Truro Power Centre, is the host for this group. Working together, the week-long mission will cover a little of Millbrook, Truro, Bible Hill and Debert.
They will offer a Kids Vacation School at Debert Baptist each mourning next week from Monday to Thursday, starting at 9:30 a.m.
But the big effort will be a broad survey of community needs. We want to know what people think are the most pressing concerns facing our community.
This is not a make work list to pass on to government. It is a challenge to learn what people expect of each other. The real question is not what’s bothering you, but what can we do about it, together.
We often hear of Christians bickering over doctrine, but when it comes to the Great Commission, we are of one accord. And we also know that when we work as one, great things happen. The Christian movement has been the single, largest force in social, cultural, and spiritual change the world has ever seen. Of course, that was a long time ago and this is now. It is time, once again, to learn the meaning of the word “go.”
Bill Martin is Points Leader at Points of Hope Church at the Cineplex Theatre in Millbrook. He teaches: You'll know your calling when your gifts meet the needs of those around you.