By: Kim Gasaway (Los Angeles)
Have you ever had a simple yet very complex thought you wanted to explain but were just up against a mental block? I have been thinking about how I explain what we do in the city ministry of in Los Angeles.
The city is very foreign to many people. It even varies from city to city as to how minister. Even neighborhood to neighborhood will change your methods. I have read many books and heard many ways to explain it but to many in the North American church what we do is as foreign as what a Thai missionary does.
My wife was sick, my son was busy and my mind was wrapped up trying to put this topic to words when dinnertime came. As missionaries, going out to eat has become more of a luxury saved for a date night but the cupboard was bare to my culinary capabilities so I said, “How about Thai?”
Hence, the trip to Go Bangkok, a local eatery. I ordered the noodles and had a soda to wait for the to go meal. In my mind was the idea of a fishbowl urban theology bouncing around in my head but to no avail.
The fishbowl is where people who live on the outside of the city see what they think the city needs but have never actually lived there. Inside the fishbowl are fish looking out on the outsiders and thinking these people are not wet. There often is a great disconnect between those in the city and those on the outside with all the great ideas.
The owner of Go Bangkok was very interested in what I was reading, Organic Leadership by Neil Cole. He asked what it was about and my mind went to mush. He was a very overt Buddhist and my evangelist gene was in neutral. He said that in Chaing Mai, his home in Thailand, the best preachers were not from other places. They were the ones who came to understand Jesus there and began sharing their belief.
In Luke 10:2 Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” What we do in Los Angeles is find workers who are already in the harvest field. Finding persons of peace who will make disciples who make disciples. “They were ones who came to understand Jesus there and began sharing their belief.”
As Jesus said, let’s go make disciples!