Now that we’ve communicated about our goals for foundation, I wanted to share a bit more specifically about what I see God calling me into this upcoming year, aside from our main focus, which will be our marriage.
One thing that God had brought some conviction to was my perspective concerning what it means to be in a “support” staff role here at YWAM. As many of you know, YWAM is a 100% volunteer run organization. This means that there is not a single person who receives free housing, food, transportation, or anything for that matter. But instead each person who volunteers or studies in YWAM must generate their own financial support. There is no YWAM central fund, or any bank account that you can write a check out to as “YWAM,” because it doesn’t exist. Every one of the 18,000 full time volunteers is raising their own funds to be in that city/village/island/slum where they are serving, from the founder of the organization down to the student.
Because of this, every single role needs to be filled by a volunteer. That means the finances, sweeping, cooking, maintenance, etc are all jobs fulfilled by someone who is raising support to be there.
It may look from the outside that everyone is out doing ministry with the homeless, prostituted, or the Discipleship Training Schools. But there is so much more happening behind the scenes. In order for these ministries to function, someone has to run the kitchen so that they can eat, crunch numbers in the finance office so there is money being accounted for, fix the vehicles when there is a blown out engine or tire so they can get to their ministries, and countless others.
Most of my time on the mission field has been out doing ministry – being on the front line of service, getting to see the fruits of my labor, and having the reward of being in the midst of all the excitement of doing ministry. But these past 3 1/2 years there have been an army of unsung heroes behind us, cooking our meals, fixing the toilets, and making sure that I can do my ministry productively, effectively and well.
The sad part is, I haven’t recognized it.
God gave me a mirror when we got back to the base at the beginning of this year. And what it showed me was my heart and my attitude towards the support staff on the base. When I finally saw it, I had a great conviction inside me, and had to repent of my self-righteousness and proud perspective.
For the past 3 1/2 years, I had thought myself better than those who were working in support roles on base. I saw myself as having more “direction, passion and calling” than those who were working in the kitchen or transportation. I had actually thought that I had a greater calling, or greater character, and that was why God had me in the roles He did.
I don’t think I had fully consciously thought these things, but after hypothetically putting myself in these positions, it revealed to me the position of my heart. After recognizing and confessing all this, I felt like God wanted to challenge me. The past 3 1/2 years of my life, I have been in very public positions. Whether it was leading Discipleship Training Schools or promoting our documentary, it’s always been roles that people have been able to see and affirm the “great job” that we have been doing, and in general it’s always been propelling and moving my personal vision and goals forward. I still believe that those goals and visions are from God, and are the desires that He has put in me to see made complete. However, for a season, I think God wants to do something new. Something different – I feel like God wants to hide me.
The picture I see in my head is of a rock, and God is hiding me under it.
Maybe that sounds weird, but I truly believe that often times, God can only speak to us through certain circumstances. I feel like God is taking me to a place where He can show me something new, something that He wouldn’t be able to show me anywhere else. I believe that what He wants to teach me is servanthood.
Our God is a God who serves, it is a huge part of his character. Until recently, I don’t think I have truly understood what a foundational piece of God this is. I can get so focused on myself, my ministry, my goals, my dreams, that I begin to step over people, or turn people away. My attitude becomes “if it’s not adding to my vision, then it isn’t worth my time.”
When in reality, for the past 3 1/2 years I have had people behind me, working in support roles, putting their vision and desires aside, so that I may flourish, grow, and pursue mine. This puts the question in my mind, what is true service?
Because when I look at Jesus, what He did had nothing to do with Him and what He wanted; what His dreams or desires for Himself might be. It was about Him putting Himself below others, and making others more important than Himself. The Bible says that “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
When I read this, I see the depth of His sacrifice, and I see the superficialness of my own.
God, the perfect and holy One, came down into human flesh, still perfect and holy, and made Himself the lowest of low. To wash the feet of the disciples and touch the lepers. He came to this earth not to be served but to serve. How often I had despised the idea of washing dishes in the kitchen, or cleaning the cars at the base. I so desire glory for myself, and to be seen and heard. But when I look at Jesus, I don’t see a man in pursuit of his own dreams or desires, but a man who literally DIED ON A CROSS so that others would be able to become more, to live in their fullness, to pursue the dreams God had for them. He died so that others could live.
That is true servanthood.
How willing am I to die to my own dreams, desires and passions so that others may come into theirs. How willing am I to live a life of service, where no one is cheering me on, or giving me pats on the back? Where my job and purpose literally is cleaning dishes in a kitchen or typing numbers into a computer? Dying to myself, so that another can pursue the dreams that God has put in their heart, and that they may become all that they can be?
I’m not talking about walking away from what God has called me to, but walking into a deeper intimacy with Christ and His servanthood.
What does this actually look like for me?
It looks like stepping into a place of service here on the base. From March until July (at least) I am going to be working in the transportation department. I am going to be running the administrative and financial logistics of the cars we have on the base. I will be working alongside two of my Costa Rican fiends, who are missionaries here at the base as well, and together we will be keeping the vehicles in service for all the ministries and schools here.
It’s weird to say this but I am actually really excited. I’m excited for the challenge of being in a position that doesn’t have any direct fruit or direct change I can see. Except just growing in my character, and learning to serve others. I have staffed the Discipleship Training Schools, and traveled doing documentaries about sex trafficking, and it’s so easy to stay inspired when you are seeing lives changed, and people are seeing you lead, grow and change. But what is going to be my attitude when no one is seeing me, when the things I do are only being seen by God? Where will my inspiration come from? I pray that this time would be a time of inner healing, where God would come through and rid me of my pride (yeah I know it’s a pretty scary prayer!), and bring revelation, showing me more of His son, who became less. God is so much more interested in our character than what we can do for him.
I guess I’m starting to learn that.
“But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves”