A little more than 10 years ago, I had the privilege of attending Urbana 2003. Urbana gathers mission-minded young adults, missionaries, and team leaders once every three years. For those who are curious, Urbana's mission is to "compel this generation to give their whole lives for God's global mission." Urbana's attendance reached a whopping 20,000 people that year.
I will never forget an Urbana leader stepping forward to let us know the goal for that year's offering. They prayerfully believed that we would bring in $1 million. While I agreed that the world of missions could greatly use that much money, I also knew that the majority of college students were poor. I found it hard to believe that we could fork up an average of $50 per person.
Not long after collecting the offering, the total was announced. To my amazement, more than $1,100,000 was given to God for His global mission. My faith grew that day.
More than seeing the monetary significance was that God opened my eyes that day to the unimaginable talents, gifts and abilities that were present in that place. God revealed to me a greater awareness of Paul's challenge, which says, "Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Cor. 12:27).
Personally, my spiritual upbringing is the result of being raised in the Church of the Nazarene. But I have also completed an internship at an interdenominational ministry called Teen Mania, and I have been a youth/worship pastor of an Assemblies of God church. Now, there I was, in the midst of 20,000 believers (only God knows how many denominations and people groups were present) all coming together for one purpose: to see God's Kingdom come and His will be done through our obedient worship of one man, Jesus.
So what's my point in this entry of Footsteps to Follow?
There's a good chance that I don't know the majority of you who are reading this. Yet how many churches are in Lycoming County? How many brothers and sisters in Christ are worshiping just down the street, though I have yet to introduce myself? Some may take great advantage of the United Churches of Lycoming County network, but my guess is that too few of us do.
Want to know what I think? We allow the enemy of our souls and the enemy of Christ's Body to separate us into factions which lose sight of the potential that exists within our ranks as a Holy Spirit-empowered global force to be reckoned with. We tend to think small because we neglect to know one another. We doubt our ability to adequately love and serve others because we ignore our own teammates in the church next door.
Question: What would happen if we set aside our insignificant differences (as far as eternity is concerned) and instead came together to celebrate friendship and worship with the One who makes us one? We just celebrated Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down and brought unity and power, which in turned transformed homes, cities, and the world.
I am committed to follow His footsteps because that's my calling as a child of God. But what would happen if we followed in His footsteps together? I challenge you (and myself) to start getting to know those in the God's family and ask that His Spirit give us the power to effectively be His witnesses for His sake and glory (Acts 1:8).
- White is the pastor at Twin Hills Church of the Nazarene in Montoursville.