On the day I’m writing this, my small group will meet for dinner, study and prayer. I don’t think this will surprise you, but I rarely sign up to bring food, instead I’d rather prepare the Bible Study. We’re finishing up our study of Acts and I loved one commentary’s take on Acts 28:30-31:
“There is no end to the story. Why? Because the same story is repeated again and again throughout history of the church. Trusting in Jesus, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the Father, the word of God will continue to spread without hindrance and continue to change lives for the glory of God. The Book of Acts really is a never-ending story.”
The Book of Acts really is a never-ending story.
If you’re familiar with the Jesus Storybook Bible, this reminds me of the language the author uses for the story of Eden and God’s love for us being never ending, always and forever. And we’ve joined that story. Sometimes excitement and awe wash over me and I have to pinch myself.
Other times, I read chapters like the two we read for today (in Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission written by Robynn Bliss and Sue Eenigenburg) and remember this is hard. All the different players involved and areas for different expectations and tensions and I wish there was a tidier end to the story.
In the chapter on sending agencies, I starred, underlined, and wrote “yes” on basically every page. Which is to say, if you haven’t, read it. One of the phrases that jumped out to me was, “sending agencies have the opportunity to create both freedom and accountability through clarity.” I know represented in our ranks we have so many wonderful organizations who are committed to the call as well. I also know there are some not so great. Sigh. I wish that weren’t true.
But doesn’t the idea of freedom and accountability resonate with you? Freedom within standards. Standards that are broad enough so that one person or marriage or family doesn’t have to be like others. Freedom not to live in fear that we are disappointing someone (maybe we don’t even know who the “someone” is) or not living up to the unspoken standards.
Yes, freedom balanced with accountability.
Sounds so … Godly? doesn’t it? Grace and Truth.
As I read this, I wondered what your experience with communicating with your organization has been like? If you’re married do you have you own voice? Does it need to go through your husband? How are you each heard as individuals and as a couple? If you’re single, how are you heard by your organization?
I don’t think we’ll get to this at other points in the book, so I’ll bring it up here: housing and the single. Just this week as I sent out a letter to my supporters and was sharing about Connection Groups and the upcoming retreat, I got a long response from someone I’d been on a summer team in the early 90’s. She wrote at great length about how housing influenced one experience. For the most part, I’ve had my own space. How are housing decisions made in your organization? For couples, families, and singles?
I wanted to put the chapter on sending organizations with sending churches. In this day and age, I think it’s not only sending churches but also individuals. Again, a massive range exists for all of us reading this. Some are fully funded by a denomination, others by a group of churches or by one church. Some have a combination of churches and individuals and some are in a second career and are self-funded while have a solid prayer team. I have just stated the obvious, you’re welcome :).
I wanted to flesh all of this out because I can see why these can be complex subjects to write about given the amount of variables. I’m impressed that Sue was able to pack so much into such a short space. This stood out to me in the chapter: “Some women, according to the survey, think that they are expected by their churches to thrive spiritually, but are also concerned they have be occasionally judged as unspiritual if they return home or suffer extreme discouragement or burnout.”
Preach it sister. I know we’ve barely dipped out toe in these subjects. So let’s keep talking in the comments. What stood out to you or was stirred in you?
P.S. Next week we have the treat of author Sue sharing with us! We’ll be back to the book and our expectations of our co-workers after Easter.
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