How do you define a mission field? Where is it? What does it look like? How does one minister in it?
I have been thinking about this for some time and wonder if my definition is the same as that of California Southern Baptists. As I travel across our state I see the spiritual emptiness and confusion among many.
Some have said that "perception is reality." Many times we agree. But many times that is not the case when we rely on misperceptions to form our views.
Here are some "misperceptions" and "misrepresentations" about California: the state will fall into the Pacific Ocean one day when the big one (earthquake) hits. California cannot be reached for Christ. California is the land of fruits and nuts. I would never serve Christ in California because too many sinners live there. The list could go on.
As I listen to these and other statements like them, my heart grows heavy. To many, reaching the world in California seems like a game. Reality set in recently when I attempted to share the lostness of our state. I talked about reaching the world, yet many seem to focus more on reaching the world than reaching the world that has come to the Golden State and her communities.
California Southern Baptists are a global evangelical group of Christ followers. The passion of our churches and their members is missions, evangelism and missions. We want to reach the world for Jesus. However, I fear that our passion for world evangelization has surpassed our command for community, regional and state evangelization first. Many have neglected to be "on mission" right where we live.
I challenge California Southern Baptists to rethink and redefine "mission field." I encourage you to take a new look at the community in which you live and rediscover the challenge of transforming lives where you live.
On leaving His disciples, Jesus clearly said, "Be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea ... ." It is time for us to recapture the spirit of these instructions and commit to reach every man, woman, boy and girl in California for Christ.
After all, this is our mission field.