Last year I went to Kenya. Not your usual holiday trip (although there was time for a safari and some beach time!), I was there as part of a team from our church as part of Global Alpha Training.
The basic vision is to equip the local church leaders/congregation to run Alpha courses in their community. I was asked to join the team to lead worship at the three day conference alongside my Kenyan counterpart Alex.
It was a tremendous opportunity and experience and like is often true of mission trips, being nearly 5 thousand miles from home and without the usual support network greatly increased my dependence on God! The times of prayer we had with the local team were powerful and we all made some good friends. Alex and I got on great and we had fun sharing songs although I didn’t always know exactly what I was singing!
On the morning of the start of the event we had just finished a time of worship and prayer as a team and I was just sorting out some last-minute things, tuning my borrowed guitar and praying quietly to myself.
The prayer went something like this: “Lord, I pray that I would not get in your way today…”. Before I was able to continue my prayer in a similar vein (false humility) I heard a clear response, and not one I expected: “Do you not think I could do this without you?”. I didn’t hear an audible voice but it was definitely striking and stopped me in my tracks.
The tone is difficult to convey, but it felt like a gentle rebuke. It was not harsh and yet reminded me very clearly that God did not need me. It sounds ridiculous to write it down now! How could I forget that God could just flex his little finger and impact the entire bustling city of Mombasa just outside the walls of the church forever and it wouldn’t need a single note from my beaten up acoustic guitar.
Yet the word also brought a great invitation with it, one I haven’t forgotten since. God did not need me and yet here I was halfway across the world to minister to these people. He did not need me, he wanted me to share in his ministry. He wanted to partner with me. It still blows my mind to this day and back then it affected me greatly. God chooses often to work through people who make themselves available, in fact I might even go as far to say that it seems to be his primary method for working in this world. What an honour.
The flip side of course, is the weight of responsibility that this realisation can bring. I mean, I often feel unworthy. It would make it very difficult to partner though if I stopped there. The truth is, our unworthiness does not cause any difficultly to him, only us. It doesn’t stop God in his tracks.
It seems that last year in a very humid Mombasa he wanted to remind me of the privilege of working hand in hand with my creator, and yet also remind me that I should stop worrying about my unworthiness, as long as my heart was after him. He was more than worthy enough and able enough for us both and he had chosen to work through me. Making myself available was all it took.
God wants to impact people through you!