It was a normal day at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The chapel was filling up at the appointed time. There was always a little excitement in the air when our beloved President, Dr. Paige Patterson, was scheduled to preach. This day was no exception.
There is one thing you must know about Southeastern Seminary. You cannot sit through many chapel services without being confronted to consider going overseas to the mission field. It is a Great Commission school, and each student is confronted with this call.
On this day, Dr. Patterson was on his game. The message was clear and powerful. He lifted us up so high we needed to look down to see the sky. Then it came. It always came. As the intensity of the sermon moved to a fever pitch, he issued a call. He asked each student to do one of two things. He asked us to commit our lives, right then and right there, to be either a goer or a sender. That is, he challenged us to commit to doing our part to reach the nations. For some, it meant leaving our homes, crossing a culture, and making a difference for the gospel. For others, it meant staying home, challenging our culture, and making a difference.
I had prayed for some time. I do believe I was open to what God wanted to do, and I really did not sense that I should change courses and go. I also really believed that I must do all that I could to send and support. So, I that day I committed to being a Great Commission Christian. In particular, I committed to promote the cause of global disciple-making to sending and supporting as best I could.
Thus, it became a focus of my pastoral ministry. I claim no great success, but I did my best. Then God called me to CLA. One question that raced around my mind was: how can I be an intentional sender in this position?
That question stayed with me until the day some of our high school students asked for a meeting. They wanted to form a mission club, and they were full of ideas. As I met with them, I was amazed at how multifaceted their vision was. They dreamed of going abroad, and they dreamed about going down the street. They wanted to conquer the nations and their neighborhoods for Christ. As the year went on, they helped the poor, ministered to widows, and helped feed the hungry across the world.
Now, I see. In a small way I am going global by investing local. The Great Commission involves going places, but it also involves investing in people. When we teach people to observe all that He has commanded, we are involved in Great Commission work. Our students will take these lessons to places we will never go, do things we will never do, and see God work in ways we will never dream.
So now I see there is no contradiction between the commitment I made, and the calling I have answered. As a matter of fact, I understand now better than ever that I am going global by investing local. That is exactly what you do when you partner with organizations like us.