Something about the vision God has given us for Hope MK doesn’t make any sense. We know how difficult it can be to get Christians out of churches and engaging in mission. It’s even more difficult to get young Christians to do it. But on top of that we’re asking young Christians to give up their half term break (when they could be chilling out after seven long weeks back at school), to get up early(ish) and work for the week. Oh, and did we mention that they have to pay for the privilege? See, we told you it doesn’t make sense!
But two years ago a group of young people from a church in MK ventured over to Cambridge to take part in a similar mission initiative. Here’s the testimony of Charlie Caird, one of those young people, and why she believes it’s important to get out and ‘burst Christian bubbles’:
“As Christians, we tend to keep ourselves in little bubbles of Christianity. We have prayer groups where we talk to other Christians about the problems we face being Christians, we go to Christian festivals and camps where we’re surrounded by Christian people and Christian leaders, and we’re so overwhelmed by the Holy spirit that we want to bring all our friends and family along and be in that environment all the time. We come to church every Sunday and we worship and we pray and we talk and we’re full of ideas… and then we go home.
And what does all that achieve for the Kingdom of God? I’m not saying that these things are bad, quite the opposite; spiritual highs set us up for when things get hard, and prayer is the most powerful and important tool we have. But Jesus said ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent’ (Luke 4:43), and as followers of Christ, isn’t that what we should be doing too? These bubbles help our own relationship with God and they fill our spirit with joy, which is exactly what God wanted for us, but he also wants that for everyone else, and how will they come into that relationship unless we show them that God loves them?
Serving on a team is more than just working with a group of people to carry out a project within the community (and it’s more than just the matching hoodies). It’s about going out into a world where the majority of people will disagree with what you are saying and what you believe, where you’re not surrounded by people who have the same life views and morals, and they won’t care for you and pray for you when things are hard like the church family will. It’s about going where you know people will reject you. It’s about all of this, and its about doing it while loving the people who oppose you with everything you have. It’s about loving the team you’re serving with, loving the people you’re serving and most importantly, loving God, in whose name you’re serving and seeking Him in every decision.
If you go out and you show non-believers that Christians are just like normal people and we’re not boring, etc., yes, that’s great and people will be like ‘oh, those christians we met that time weren’t so bad’. But if you show them that we’re as different as you can get from the world, because we’re never alone, and we have someone we can aways trust and rely on, maybe they’ll be like, ‘I want that, where can I get that?’, and maybe they might take the first step in seeking God.
In 2011 October half term a group of us went to Cambridge on a week-long mission called ‘Beyond Belief’. I was in a group of about 10 young people from the youth group of St Mary’s church, Bletchley, and our project was to run activity afternoons for children and a free cafe for the local young people in the evenings. Beyond Belief was a very important ‘event’ in my life as I was fairly new to my faith. I’d been to Soul Survivor and had the amazing meeting with God experience everyone goes on about and I’d made some amazing friends and I’d had an amazing time. And for the first few weeks I was back at home I was so full of the spirit and I spoke to my friends about my experiences and they all thought I was weird but I didn’t care, and then after a while, I became more embarrased to admit I was a Christian. I was less likely to stand up to people when they said things against religion in case they thought I was a crazy Bible basher and what had it actually changed in my life? Not a great deal. Truthfully, I still get nervous everytime I have to talk about my faith to someone, but Beyond Belief showed me the true power of what you can achieve when you serve out in the community in the name of God.
I am not saying that every non-Christian we speak to when on a mission will become a Christian, though when you listen to ‘great Christian leaders’ or read books about amazing things people have done in the name of God, it seems like they just have to say ‘hello’ to someone and they fall down in the Holy spirit or they sneeze and a whole crowd of people give their lives to God, but what is different about those ‘super Christians’ and ourselves? Nothing. Nothing at all. We have the holy spirit living in us just as much as they do, we have Gods power to save within us, just as they do, and we have the stength to walk out into the community of Milton Keynes and hopefully plant the seed of revival in a few hearts this October at Hope MK.”
So, are you up for bursting some bubbles this October?!
Charlie shared this testimony at a recent Hope MK themed service at Whaddon Way Church – used here with permission.