I found a few old articles I had written several years ago for a Missions Outfitter online magazine mail out. They had been written fresh off a mission trip to the Philippines and I thought they were pretty good. I enjoyed reading what God was revealing to my heart at that time regarding the connection between worship and missions. So... I thought I would post them here...
The Returning Missionary
“All of history is moving toward one great goal, the hot white worship of God and His Son among all the people’s of the earth. Missions is not that goal. It is the means. And for that reason it is the second greatest activity in the world.” (John Piper, Let the nations be glad) Worship is the first. We were born to worship our Savior. We were created to live lives devoted to the glory of God. Worship is a life style.
God’s heart is to see His glory mirrored in His bride, His presence displayed in the lives of His people. We were made to have hearts devoted to worship, and lives devoted for service. “Missions begins and ends with worship”(Piper). The great commission is a response to the heart of God. Where there is a passion to worship God, there will be a zeal for missions. If the church is to successfully declare God’s glory among the nations, it must first set its heart toward worship.
Worship is ultimately an act of surrender in response to a revelation of who God is. “The only thing that elicits true worship is a greater revelation of God Himself”…(Sylvia Evans) this worship is acted on by serving the heart of God. Surrender and service go hand in hand, a true worship lifestyle requires both. A worship lifestyle looks like missions.
I believe, and have personally experienced that Worship teams and leaders, through participating in missions can not only have global influence and experience personal growth. But the impact they can have upon returning can be equally, if not more profound within their local church.
As is often the case, short-term missions act as a catalyst. Providing an atmosphere of absolute dependence on God while in the field, the short-term missionary comes home having experienced a revolution of the heart, mind and soul. The way they talk, the way they think, and what they feel changes. They stepped out of their comfort zone, were stretched and grew. Responding in faith, they experienced a greater revelation of God.
I’m convinced the key to revival is found in the heart of a missionary. As a whole, the church has yet to fully access that heart. What thrills me about a returning worship team is that they already have a place to plug in. The body can benefit immediately from what the team has experienced.
As a lead worshipper, I am constantly encouraging the team to seek a greater revelation of God, to pursue a passionate hunger to know God, to glorify Him, and to experience His Majesty. I know that a worship team truly worshipping God inspires the body to enter in. Yet, we can’t take people where we haven’t been. Therefore we must be hungry, and experienced in filling that void.
I would encourage any worship leader to take their team on a short-term mission trip. An opportunity to serve together is another important way to worship together, and out of giving you will receive. The worship time spent in preparation is essential, the worship time spent on the ground, life changing. The worship time spent upon return is invaluable to the body. Life giving. The returning worship team having experienced a “greater revelation of God” will act as a catalyst inspiring a deeper worship within the body. In essence, revival!!