Before a game, teams usually have someone give a little pep talk, just to get their spirits up, to get them focused and energized and motivated. Then during time-outs or huddles, someone continues that sentiment to keep the players upbeat and on task. We have just had the privilege of having Dr. Evertt Huffard lead a missions weekend at Shiloh, which served a very similar purpose. He has been involved with teamAREQUIPA in the past, assisting us in evaluating our team tendencies and identifying some strengths and growth areas. This weekend, he came to continue that support and to share some wisdom and experience with Shiloh, to help get them focused, energized and motivated. It was very uplifting.
The team was able to spend Friday evening with him, discussing our most recent team events and planning our next steps. It was refreshing to shake up our conversation and have his insightful questions to help us along. He also helped us review our time at Shiloh and consider how best to use the time we have left. We are inexperienced and ambitious, and his guidance is invaluable to us.
He then spent time with the church, in various crowds and settings. In a long session geared toward a general audience, he spoke of mission in the broad sense, reminding us that we are not a church because we have a building, but because we have a mission. His comparison was that a family is not a family because they have a house; the relationships within and mutual
purpose bind us together. Dr. Huffard challenged Shiloh to be vision-driven rather than budget- driven, and not be afraid to continue stepping out on faith that God would provide for the work He has prepared. His analogy here was of parents sending their children to college without an exact plan of how it will be paid. They set a priority of education for their children and figure it out as they go. This leaves room for God to work, so that even looking back, we may not be sure how it happened and can only give credit to Him.
Next, he discussed how partnerships are the means to participating in God’s mission. There are quite a few involved, including those between Shiloh and Cedar Lane, either church and the team, both churches and the church to be planted...everywhere he turned there were more partnerships. He explained that how a church views their role in these relationships defines their approach to mission, as well as their expectations of themselves. For example, if the partnership of priority is with the missionaries, then that “job” is finished when they come home. If it is a partnership with the newly planted church and those believers, then the missionaries’ presence is no longer the only link between Shiloh and the Peruvians. Overall, he painted a new perspective on how Shiloh can frame their part in God’s mission.
To finish the session, attendees specified what pieces of the framework he had presented they would like him to explain further, so that they could come away with a clearer picture of what individuals need to begin doing now. He focused on the need for leadership and participation of non-elders in planning and providing for the needs of the field workers. This led to a discussion of what plan of action Shiloh can develop to best support the team. Additionally, he advised the already-formed Peru Mission support team to meet regularly and spearhead Shiloh’s involvement. As the session concluded, those present were affirming the need for action and commitment, beyond what has been typical for an average church.
Following the general session was a quick lunch before Dr. Huffard met with the Shiloh elders. He is gifted in working with church leaderships to evaluate their existing systems and consider what changes would best serve the kingdom. We are told the meeting went well, and continue to be so thankful for the Godly men who work so hard and have committed to add us to their workload. It is our prayer that they were encouraged by his input.
By Sunday morning, our friend had put in many long hours in serving Shiloh and teamAREQUIPA, but we weren’t letting him off the hook just yet. He willingly stepped in and preached, pointing out the value of the glory of the Lord and the trouble that comes when it is gone, then challenging us to honor Him by reflecting it in our lives and spreading it all over the world. Ready...break!