|Posted by modayjo on May 3, 2018 at 8:05 AM|
There is a special emotion that comes over you when you serve the Lord on a short-term mission trip. It is however difficult to capture and articulate. God is stretching, teaching, and moving in the hearts of every member of our team and shaking us to the core and using this to mold our hearts to be more like HIM.
I have found it fascinating to see scripture come alive before my eyes in a whole new way. It is comical how often God does this to me, and why I am surprised. I know that scripture is living and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrew 4:12). Let’s not forget “scripture is God breathed.” Over the last few days God has been teaching me MORE about the body of Christ and unity… This is something I have already comprehended as a child of God and a ministry leader and I understood it being across the world, but not like I am seeing it unfold in front of me. We are all given gifts and talents by God for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:12-13a). Though God uses this to edify the body we know that the love we show each other, is a LOUD testimony that we are disciples of Jesus, and God will use that for HIS GREAT NAME.
YWAM is a great example of the body of Christ and the history of the movement is rich in cultivating unity and breaking down walls that divide. Loren Cunningham is the founder of YWAM, and God gave him a vision of waves of young people crashing in every nation (picture a wave crashing on the shore). He shared this vision that God gave him with his denomination and they were super accepting of it but God had made it very clear to Cunningham that this was not to be under any denomination. Though, this was difficult to see what God was doing when Cunningham started on this journey of obedience, he trusted and saw it through.Today we have a thriving ministry where all denominations are able to lay down non-salvation issues of faith and work together in unity to make God known. What I mean by non-salvation issues is there are non-negotiables to Christianity, we believe in the Trinity, the full deity and full humanity of Jesus, justification through faith and the authority of scripture. Denominations may have differences with non salvation issues without accusing one another of heresy.
I think the best way to explain this unity of the body of Christ on a much larger scale is to look at a map on the wall of the world. You see different countries all over the planet. Then, you focus in on the United States and you see how this country has been divided into 50 different states and yet is still one country. This is how unity in the body of Christ works in the YWAM community. We are united by the same core values causing us to be a country but the non salvation issues draw the state lines that separate us. When a denomination does not share the same core beliefs, they are then a different country. It is clear God wanted Cunningham to steer clear of sectarianism. Just like Jesus told his Disciples in Luke 9:49-50. Thus creating unity and growth to reach different cultures with the Gospel. YWAM encourages denominations to lay aside their differences to serve God as the body of Christ and to obey the great commission and spread the good news into all the world.
What is fascinating about our team this year is God pulled 2 different denominations together to serve HIM here in Canberra. Four team members came from ST. Nicholas Episcopal Church,Paradise,Ca. and 7 came from Calvary Chapel Oceanside. The fervent prayers from both supporters and the congregations are the fuel for this mission . We know the prayers of the saints are like incense to our God. Each member of the congregation and here on the short term mission trip are being used to bring glory to the kingdom of God. Everyone is being obedient and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. God has pulled several out of their comfort zone, stirred a few to step out in faith to try something new for the first time, and used others that have gifts they mastered. Like Tim is not a pastor but did preach on Colossians 2 on legalism. Reverend Ann taught us on the sovereignty of God. Andrew, Pam and Linn lead us all in worship. Victor(16 years) and Cora (11years) are embracing several areas of serving and finding out at a young age what it is like to be a missionary. Valerie is serving God EVERYWHERE!!!! Beverly is holding down the kitchen with her notable assistant Pam. Don is zealous about missions and is training up new leaders. Desiree did a director roll for leading the team in a short skit. We are all learning that Jesus will take us as far as we are willing to go and it’s alluring to see how our team is walking in Unity even though both denominations have different views. It is a God thing for sure.
I believe each one of us will walk away understanding the unity of the body of Christ is much bigger than our little church, but the body of Christ stretches out across the whole world and we all can walk in unity together like YWAM inspires us to do, regardless of non salvation issues. It is my prayer that our denominations will learn the value of unity on a bigger scale from YWAM’s example. That they will be willing to join together over the non-negotiable but remain in close fellowship even when we have contrasting views on topics that separate us. This way we can be more effective for God’s kingdom. I remember listening to K-wave before Pastor Chuck Smith passed away. He spoke on the topic of different denominations and how we should all remember that we are here serving the same God and we can serve God in unity along side each other instead of squabbleing over little things. I can only imagine if we all did this how much more God will be revealed to the lost. With that said, let us all just marinate over these verses.” So we being many are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:5-6a NKJ).From HIM the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:16 NIV).