Here are five reasons why InFaith is an awesome mission organization:
1. InFaith has a rich and dynamic history.
We are over 200 years old. For any institution, such an age is a feat in and of itself. It reveals an inherent dynamism that has proven the organization to have the adaptive capacity to change with the times. InFaith’s history is a story of adaptation. From our beginnings as the American Sunday School Union, and through our time as American Missionary Fellowship, InFaith has been about connecting God’s unchanging reality to the world’s ever changing context. Today, we sit on this rich history and reflect on what it means for our current context. As we continue our march into the 21st century, we are able to celebrate the way God has moved with and through our organization, and confidently look forward to the ways in which god is calling us to change.
2. Our people are uniquely themselves.
Have you ever been in a room with charismatics and cessationists? I have. In fact, it was just last week at our Refresh conference. We were all worshipping God together. We love each other, in fact! I was also in a room with hunter orange and camo sitting next to hipster thick-rims and skinnies. InFaith has people doing ministry all across the U.S. and our people reflect the parts of the country they come from. We have all sorts of different accents. We vote in all sorts of different ways. We listen to all sorts of different music. But one thing brings us together: We are living in faith together as a messy, diverse, and loving family.
3. Our ministry is as diverse as our people.
Many great and wonderful mission organizations, domestic and abroad, have focused on a niche ministry. They have incredible programs of ministry where they send people to focus on an age group (college kids, children, etc.) or they focus on an interest/mission (motorcycles, basketball, Bible translation, etc.), but we are not like that. At InFaith, we do not have a national program that all our missionaries follow. We do not prescribe method to our people. If we can discern together that God is clearly moving in your life to do a particular ministry and that you have been equipped and are committed to that ministry, then we welcome you to join InFaith. We don’t tell you what to do; we just want to see that God is genuinely there with you, leading you to step out in faith. This means that we have multi-ethnic church planters in Portland as well as mono-ethnic church revitalizers in eastern Wyoming. Because our people reach locally wherever they are, their ministries become inherently local.
4. We really, really care about our people.
I have heard horror stories of missionaries who are sent out on the field and feel isolated, even disempowered, by the home office. I know that we have made our share of mistakes, but one thing that struck me about InFaith is just how much we really love our people. Once you are in, you’re in. That was so obvious this past week at our Refresh conference. It was a time for our leadership to pour into our missionaries. People in ministry spend so much time giving. They are the ones serving, they are the ones speaking, they are the ones leading. But our Refresh conference was a time for them to be filled, served, and led. Our people were given space to relax. Nothing was required. There was time to spend with one another and time to spend alone. It was beautiful to see the love and care we have for each other.
5. We are gap-filling servants.
In a predominately non-Christian context (i.e. many overseas missionary contexts), the relationship between the church and missionaries is often very tight. They are seen as key partners in bearing witness to the reality of God’s reign. But in a country with such a large number of Christians and a strong history of Christian influence, sometimes it is assumed that organized churches are enough. It’s assumed that there is not a need for specific missionaries here in the U.S. But the reality is that people continue to fall through the gaps. InFaith fills these gaps and supports the work of churches. In rural places, our field staff serves churches that cannot support a pastor. Sometimes they preach circuits of churches that are hundreds of miles away from each other. All across the U.S., our people are serving in camps that support the ongoing work of churches. Children, teens, and even whole families, come to our camps and experience deep fellowship with each other and God. In other areas, our people have focused on forgotten places like decaying urban centers or unknown immigrant populations. In all of these cases, InFaith is working to fill gaps and serve the greater Church!
There are lots of other reasons why InFaith is awesome, and, honestly, reasons why we are not. But I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite “awesomes”. What are the awesomes of your life, work, organizations, etc. right now?