Unreached Network

Reluctant, Re-focussed and being Renewed – Reflections at the start of the Unreached Internship

I agreed to be on the ‘Unreached Internship’ because I was asked to.  It is as simple as that. I am in Greece for 4-5 years as my Wife secured a job here. I wish I could say it was always what I wanted to, that I have a call to the nations and mission is in my blood! Not as far as I am aware. However, I am increasingly grateful that I am here.

I love travelling but I love being settled and believe a sense of place is important, yet so is mission. My main work in the UK has been in the political and social justice space. I am now in a very different environment learning new lessons, re-learning old ones and enjoying my time. In addition to the internship, I am studying for a PhD and seeking to support a couple who are building missional communities here. I also provide support for clean energy initiatives in the UK. I hope also to add some voluntary work in a missional context.

Had you asked me a month ago I would have said I was very happy and very settled in Southeast London where we lived and had it been up to me, I would have stayed there. However, bit by bit I am seeing glimpses of God’s hand at work in the move. After all, in Acts 17v26, speaking to an Athenian audience Paul inferred God knows about whom should live where and when.

Walter Brueggeman, the Old Testament Theologian talks about God’s dealings with Israel and his people as a process of moving through sequences of orientation, then disorientation to re-orientation. This is a helpful insight to ponder in times of transition. I was settled, God has uprooted me and for his purposes is re-orientating me. It is not always comfortable, but it is part and parcel of God’s ways of dealing with his people. He knows best.

Already, I am being reminded of the centrality of the Great Commission and making disciples. It is not that I didn’t believe that before, but my focus was elsewhere. I am sure there are more lessons to learn and there will be. 

The Unreached internship, still in its early days in my case,

will give me a space and context to work out my calling

and evaluate and apply the lessons I am currently learning in a community

(albeit mostly online). 

It will be interesting to see, God willing, where this leads. The Unreached Internship provides a focus for me as I am involved in disparate elements of work.

Perhaps what I will find is that the opportunity to serve God in a different context changes ‘unreached’ parts of my soul, mind and heart.

Yet, ultimately it is not about me and my ‘self-development’ which is a liberal/secular notion. It is a process in which I am to be formed to be more Christ-like and be more aligned for that ‘..which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’, as the below text from Philippians, which I have been pondering on this year reminds us. 

It reminds us that there is a tension between knowing in Christ we have arrived in a good destination and yet we must go onwards and upwards. ‘Further Up and Further in’ as C.S Lewis penned and as U2 and Bono sung, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for.” 

We journey, not on our own and not for our own sake.

‘Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’. Philippians 3:12-14