In missionary work the great danger is that God's call will be replaced by the needs of the people, to the point that human sympathy for those needs will absolutely overwhelm the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult, that every power of the mind falters and fails. We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ - "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations..." (Matthew 28:19). - Oswald Chambers
What a fitting quote from Oswald Chambers when considering the spiritual condition of a city like Boise Idaho, and I'm sure many other city's across America as well.
Constantly, on the local news and in the papers there are stories addressing the growing homeless population and what can be done to clean up the areas where the homeless congregate. But it has become blatantly obvious that until the core issues that lead people to such dire circumstances are addressed that many more lives will continue to end up cast aside and on the streets.
Here in Boise, as the homeless population swells and area's of poverty grow darker it becomes clear that the most neglected need is that of the individual soul. Food, clothing, and shelter are always an obvious concern for the homeless, but the physical needs are only the visible symptoms. The one thing that will really reach suffering people at their core, that will really shine the light of hope into their dark despondent lives is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Being on the streets constantly - not just doing an outreach once in a while, but being on the streets, around and amongst the people that live there, getting to know them, to learn where they came from and what their stories are. In essence, becoming so familiar with those that so many are simply afraid of, that when the opportunity comes to share the good news of Jesus Christ it can be presented in a genuine, loving, and powerful way - this is the way that we must be striving to reach those that live on the fringes of our society.
The driving force in going on the streets as missionaries - because the truth is that at least here in Boise we live in a ripe mission field very much void of the gospel message, the driving force must not be the needs of the people we seek to reach but the command of Jesus Christ.
"Jesus said to them again, '...As the Father has sent me, I also send you' " -John 2:21.
When we hit the streets as Urban Gospel Missionaries, and the force that drives us there is God's call and command, we don't disregard the needs of those we seek to see saved. But rather, by making the gospel first priority, the cause of what leads to people suffering and homeless on the streets is addressed head on and that is when miracles happen. When the gospel is first priority, and addressing any other needs are simply a means to that end - then we have effective Christian ministry.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands us to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,..." The opportunity to do so is right here on our own streets.
If you live in the Boise Idaho area and feel called to reach this city with the much needed message of the gospel, please feel free to contact us and see about becoming part of our Urban Gospel Missionaries team at Take Up Your Cross Church in Garden City.