Simon Prince, Echoes International Trustee
Simon is an elder at Bishop’s Stortford Christian Assembly. Prior to this he and his family were mission workers in an Asian megacity for over 7 years. Simon is married to Liz, a paediatrician, and they have two school-aged children.
I know that blog posts should be punchy, inspiring and challenging. This blog is about a subject that’s probably none of these things. It’s something I’ve never really talked about before, because it’s a difficult subject.
What do you do when mission doesn’t excite you anymore?
We’d been mission workers in Asia for 7 and a half years, returning to the UK two years ago. We’d had a positive experience of mission; set up a successful mission-focused business, helped to lead a church, and discipled lots of young people. When we returned, we had a comprehensive debrief with our church leaders and Echoes, both of whom had been great.
But the grind of mission in a challenging environment had left me running on empty, at least as far as my passion for mission was concerned.
Simply getting our kids established in this country and making a home for ourselves in a new place seemed a big enough challenge. Having the brain space to think about much else, let alone Jesus’ Great Commission to reach the nations with the gospel, felt like too much. My passion for mission dwindled, the monthly church mission prayer meeting became the lowlight of the church calendar, not because there was anything wrong with it, it was just too much for me to cope with. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I’d always been excited by mission. I’d done street evangelism in this country, been on a GLO Team in Europe and then been a long term mission worker in Asia!
I realised that before the gospel is going to change anyone else’s life it needs to change my life each and every day!
This isn’t going to become a ‘3 steps to becoming passionate about World Mission’ blog, but there are three things I have done in the last year that have started to reignite my passion for mission:
Firstly, I got excited about the gospel again. It really is THE good news. There’s a lot we could get excited about, but the gospel is THE thing to get excited about. Christ’s righteousness really does satisfy God’s justice, meaning that because I trust in Christ I have peace with God and can live a life that pleases him. What could possibly be better news than this? I realised that before the gospel is going to change anyone else’s life it needs to change my life each and every day!
Secondly, I started to get involved in the lives of non-Christian men in our community. I joined the town’s rugby team and got to know a few other men (dads at the school gates and neighbours). And I found that whilst most of them look confident and appear to have everything sorted, you don’t have to dig far beneath the surface to find disappointment, hurt, and confusion. The gospel really is the answer, not to my deepest needs, but to those of my friends and neighbours too! Opportunities to share the gospel may not come around as often as they did in a very spiritually aware Asian context, but they do come round!
And thirdly, I’ve tried to become more informed about the unprecedented gospel growth that’s happening across the world! From Colombia, to Iran, to Ukraine, there’s so much to be excited about, even though much of this is taking place in the midst of hardship. Lives are being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, as people from every tribe and tongue and nation are coming in greater numbers than ever before to own Jesus as Lord.
If I’m honest, I’m not quite where I want to be yet. The fire in my belly isn’t yet quite what I want it to be. But slowly and surely the passion is returning.
The gospel really is THE good news that I need to preach to myself daily. It’s what my affluent town in the South East of England needs to hear. And it’s the good news that gives hope to each and every nation. That’s surely something to get excited about.
by Simon Prince