Category Archives: Conferences

West Michigan Missions Forum 2014

Saturday, March 29

willing

Kim Sorrelle and I had the pleasure of attending the West Michigan Missions Forum last Saturday in Byron Center. This day conference was encouraging in every aspect. Working in missions is not easy. So often life happens and gets in the way of the dream. Despite the struggles of serving internationally, the joy that transforms lives on these trips is why we do what we do. Looking out at the gym full of participants and charities, we were reminded that we are not alone out there. The world can be a frustrating, scary place, but focusing on connecting people and resources produces incredible results.

There’s a reason why deep down we all dream of traveling abroad to discover more about our global community as well as ourselves.Serving on a short mission trip opens our eyes and hearts to new ideas, new friends, and worldviews. John 12:26 states, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Whoever serves me must follow me?

Follow where?

As the world’s 1%, are we really called to serve in the poorest place in the world? How do we act as the 1% in poverty?

The journey of service requires sacrifice. This sacrifice can be to donate money for the cause or volunteer time to support the organizations we care about. Is this how we serve because it is comfortable, or is this a creative solution? There are misconceptions about service. God is calling each of us to serve out of our comfort zone, but life changing experiences don’t need to be around the world. In our own communities, we have the potential to cultivate meaningful relationships and serve others.

We were made for a mission, rather than missions made for us. This isn’t your Grandpa’s world anymore. The major trend of missions in this day and age is evolving with each generation. Instead of focusing on church planting and process-oriented trips, new trends suggest that missions are highlighting project-oriented, holistic ministries.

Conference attendees where encouraged to pray about what part is God calling each person to. The home arena supports national workers and new paradigms for churches and agencies. The strategic arena works with urban missions, partnerships, and uses prayer as warfare. The overseas church arena is maturing of international missionary movements and globalization of the church. The global arena seeps into global culture.

These are the areas that Rays of Hope will be working towards. Our goals in missions include:

  • Human dignity is to be given to each individual. We are all created in God’s image. We are to treat others like how we would treat our own children. 

  • Be who we are in partnership.

  • Ask questions, but don’t use struggle as an excuse to drop support.

  • Capacity building of individuals.

  • Capacity building of the organization.

  • Business as a part of the solution.