[Disclaimer: This post is a generalized statement on missions culture. I understand the true meaning of the songs referenced, and in no way have issues with anyone personally.]
Lately, there have been a ton of contemporary Christian worship songs that speak to our calling to be more, to do more, and to live more for Jesus. I love them. I sing them very loudly in the car. I cry during Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) every. single. time. Bethel Music (with Amanda Cook) sings a song called ‘You Make Me Brave’ that just rips my heart to shreds and makes me sit on the floor of my shower and weep like a child. It is almost a problem.
This seems to be common though; all my church people love these songs too. The amazing worship band at my church sings these songs all the time. It is so good. I am assuming anyone who is my age and listens to any type of current Christian music has heard this stuff. We eat it up. But I have a problem with it, with us, and with how we might be kind of big ol’ hypocrites about letting the ‘Spirit lead us where our trust is without borders’.
Hear me out; I believe as Christians we all want to let God lead us. Some of us *aka ME HI HELLO RIGHT HERE* are control freaks , so we have a difficult time with that. But I believe that desire is still there! What really bothers me is when we cry out the words to these songs, and then we still think we know what borders God is breaking down for us. It bugs me endlessly that we sing “wherever You would call me”, and immediately assume that it is SO not the homeless shelter in town. I think we think that these songs only apply to big mission trips, to international relations with places where Christianity is a crime, to places where we literally cross politically-imposed borders.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with those mission trips. I’ve never gone on an international one, but I’ve done plenty of them in continental North America, and there is nothing as amazing as helping people in places you’ve never been. I know hundreds of people who are irrevocably changed by their mission trip(s). I will admit, I was.
The problem becomes when we snub the local outreach because it feels too small for us. When serving soup at the local food bank is beneath you, or when opening your home becomes a burden, or when talking to the homeless man who sits outside your church each week becomes asking him to leave rather than to come in. Yes, He calls us out into deep waters where we must trust Him. Yes, He gives us courage beyond our own bravery. Yes, He will lead us to a place where our trust has zero boundaries. But y’all better be ready when the borders He leads you to don’t come with an airline ticket and a visa. Be ready to acknowledge that the borders might be ones built up in your own heart. And sing those songs even louder, and trust in Him even more, when you’re led to reach out your hands to help people close by, when you’re asked to walk alongside folks right within your communities.