From homeless shelters to well-funded technical training centers, from refugee-filled gymnasiums to shipping-container trailer-parks we have brought the Gospel to bear wherever we could. Now, as we position ourselves to follow God’s call to Detroit, as we lead our last team into ministry here in Berlin, “who will take over what you are doing when you leave?” is almost a nightly question. Here are some honest answers…
- No one. Nobody has to. This was never about us. We are not the general contractors in God’s building project. When the roofing is complete on a new house, does the owner ask the roofers to return to put in the wiring? The next people will come, and they will build on what we have done, even if they are unaware. But they will not, and should not, BE us.
- We are not the focal point, Jesus is. “God owns the missionaries on a thousand hills” is something I have become fond of saying. And while it is humbling to think that what you have been doing can go on without you when you leave, that it could even prosper much more, it is also heartening. We take great solace in the knowledge that we serve One who is so much greater than we are.
- There is no structure to maintain in the truest sense. We never really built a ministry, instead, we tried to join God in what He was doing, encouraging others to do the same. Along the way we have been blessed to have others come and go alongside us, we have been blessed to have doors opened up to meaningful relationships in the city with those who care for the least and the lost.
- We are joyfully handing over any and all contacts we have made here to fellow workers. Please pray that God will raise missionaries and lay people up to take these people groups and these places of refuge to the next level of knowing Him intimately, that He will raise up leaders to bring His kingdom here in ways that we could never imagine ourselves!
As we are faced with existential questions like “do we matter?” or “did we make a difference?” it is tempting to try and take the reins and shape a future in which we do not belong, but we must resist. The past, present, and future all belong to God! We matter solely because we matter to Him, and we make a difference only when we cooperate with what He is doing!
Soli Deo Gloria!
For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.—Hebrews 3:3-5