In a conversation the other day I was told that CBF hasn’t been doing anything in mission for years. I was told that we haven’t been commissioning “real” field personnel because “real” field personnel are funded via a central offering and we haven’t been able to do that since 2005. It was a very enlightening conversation considering the fact that for the past seven years I have been walking alongside “real” people who are seeking to serve God through CBF Global Missions. In fact, 104 short and long-term field personnel have been commissioned since 2005. All of those people were “fully-funded”—some via the CBF Offering for Global Missions, some God funded fully in other ways like through tent-making jobs, early retirement, churches, family and friends.
Actually, the more I reflect upon the comments I was told the angrier I become. Is it not easy to flippantly marginalize the earnest discernment and faith journey of anyone that is not we? Those real people, whom God fully-funded to participate in God’s mission via funding other than the CBF Offering for Global Missions, intentionally chose to serve. Many intentionally chose to leave good jobs, sell houses, stuff, and uproot families. They chose to serve with no guarantees but by faith understanding that the world was called into being by God’s word. Ironically, those people whom God fully-funded via the Offering for Global Missions—who are also “real people”—they too chose to serve by faith and the knowledge that there are no guarantees. This is a reality that they increasingly face as their financial support via the offering continues to diminish.
By faith, some 80,000 people have served through short-term engagement through CBF since the year 2000, some multiple times, all funded by God fully in a variety of ways. And yes, by faith, thousands of people have given to CBF through the Offering for Global Missions and a variety of other methods because they believe that God is at work in the world and we as the Fellowship should and are joining in that work.
This financial support—given by faith—demands more than a quick tongue. This life service—given by faith—demands more than marginalization. This participation—given by faith—demands more than useless despair.
Let us lift our eyes beyond ourselves, our assumptions, our worldview bound ideas, and our functional atheism that finds us living as if nothing good is going to happen today unless we make it happen. God wants to provide, do we have the faith to show up? God is at work, do we have the courage to participate? God will transform, do we have the willingness to die to ourselves?