A Conversation With…

A Conversation With…

Author - Stephen Shaw QC, Barrister

Author Bio:

Stephen Shaw QC is a barrister (alias ‘advocate/trial attorney’) based in Northern Ireland where he serves as an elder in a local church. Married with 4 adult children and 5 grandchildren he sits on several boards of Christian organisations and is pleased to take the Lord’s truth where doors open to him.

I love to eavesdrop …Recently I overheard this exchange between two people on the way to a church near you. They had been looking at the new Echoes International web site when one asked:

What does a missionary look like?

That’s easy! Middle-aged, wearing conservative clothes and the serene smile of someone who has everything sorted as they sail through life full of the joy of the Lord…

What do they do?

As the spiritual elite, these “special forces” of the Kingdom go to remote places where mere mortals like us tremble. They win famous spiritual victories that they describe in carefully understated language in their ‘prayer letters’.

Remind me: what are ‘Prayer Letters’?

They are the old style posts that we skim over in our busy life here “at home” far removed from the Mission Field where God’s crack commandoes live.

Why do they go?

Lots of reasons, I suppose. Some still take literally the so-called ‘Great Commission’ to go and make disciples of all nations. Jesus said something about that as I recall…

Realising it’s rude to eavesdrop, should I come clean and try to explain?

Where should I start?

How can I not speak of the glorious privilege it is to serve the Lord WHEREVER He puts each of us as His messengers to spread the Good News and share the love of God?

Summoning my small share of courage, I clear my throat and begin…by re-running their questions

What does a missionary look like?

Like you!  Some of the photographs on this Echoes International site do show middle-aged people (and yes there are more serene smiles than is statistically probable) but trust me; they are (mostly) regular people like you! There are some younger people in the photos too.

It might surprise you but EACH of God’s children is on Mission for Him: Look in the mirror!

It is a glorious privilege to serve the Lord wherever He puts us

What do they do?

Whatever God gifts them to do wherever He places them. Check the opportunities section on this site to see the range of work undertaken…

Remind me: what are ‘Prayer Letters’?

All right. I must admit that all too often they are indeed ‘the old style posts that we skim over in our busy life here “at home” far removed from the ‘Mission Field’ where God’s commandoes live.’

But that’s due to the fact that we have a distorted idea of the ‘Mission Field’ and where it is. Here’s an idea: sit down and write the leaders of your church a letter about how you are serving Him in your daily grind and how they might pray for you…

Why do they go?

They are obedient. Os Guinness explains it well in his fine book “The Call”. There is a ‘universal call’ by God to everyone, everywhere to repent and trust the Lord Jesus for salvation. Once we do that there is then an individual and personalized ‘call’ to serve Him wherever He places us with the gifts and resources that He entrusts to us. We hold them on an accountable receipt and will one day give Him a report.

I will go back to the message sent by the Commander-in-Chief to His forerunner John as recorded by the historian Luke in chapter 7.22-23.  Troubled lest he had misunderstood the mission of Jesus, John is told by the eye-witnesses sent by Jesus: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed it is the person who does not fall away on account of me”.

The Lord Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom and demonstrated it as the Old Testament had predicted. God’s Mission goes way back beyond Victorian empires to the foundation of the world (at least).  His call to you is unmistakeable, insistent and current.

Welcome to the joint blog of Echoes International and GLO. Sharing the thoughts and experiences from experts in mission across the world, we aim to examine the issues facing mission today, and challenge existing views about cross-cultural mission.

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