My position as Director of Prayer & Celebration includes my oversight of the prayer communications, teams and activities within SIM USA (Director of Prayer), seeking to engage the church in prayer for missions and missionaries.
But it also includes a worship aspect (Celebration). Missions is fueled by or grows out of our worship. The tie between our worship and God’s mission is most clearly seen in Psalm 63:
Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. (Psalm 63:1-5 NIV)
John Piper is known for his quote on worship and mission. His quote has returned to me in many ways and in different forms throughout the past two plus years at SIM USA:
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When the age is over, and countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” (Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions; pg. 11)
Worship and the Mission of God is interestingly the main theme of the Jannuary/February 2015 “Worship Leader Magazine.”
Keith Walker, SIM’s International Strategic Development Manager has written on why SIM exists:
God called out our pioneers to Latin America, Asia, and Africa. They responded in joyful obedience and wholehearted faith because of their love for Christ and the lost. In our generation, this great love remains our heartbeat. The following are elements of why SIM exists:
- We exist to worship Christ in heart, word and deed.
- We strive to make Him known and make His disciples where He is least known, irrespective of barriers and compelled by His great love.
- We serve His churches in fulfilling His mission across cultures.
- We enable those whom He is calling to participate in His harvest irrespective of where they come from or where they go.
What we do as followers of Christ can’t be separated from our worship of him. Our worship takes on many forms, singing, working, praying, submitting, playing, etc. All we do, whether in word or deed, Paul urges is to be done to the “glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
So what do I do as the director of celebration at SIM USA?
– Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the office staff of the SIM USA office gather together to corporately worship and begin our day in prayer. (Monday and Fridays we meet in our different departments.) We pray for the countries in which SIM serves, for our missionaries, for departments within the SIM USA office and thank God for what He is doing. Together we worship and declare our dependence on Him for the day.
– SIMStart is a “kick-the-tires” kind of weekend where applicants come to the campus of SIM USA to explore if SIM is the organization with which to serve God cross-culturally.
– SIMGo is our two week training time for appointee missionaries. On Sunday mornings during both of these times, the group gathers for a time of and a time in God’s Word. Here is what our bass player said about one of these times:
Just this past weekend, I was on campus playing mandolin and acoustic guitar for about 30 missionaries and staff. We’ve played the modern hymn “By Faith” quite a bit. The fourth verse goes like this:
By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth
I’ve had the hair on the back of my neck stand up while listening to a room full of missionaries sing that verse. In that room, we’re all on the same page; we’re going through many of the same struggles; and we’re exhorting each other (which happens to be one of my favorite reasons to sing corporately). I find that it’s a good shot in the arm.
– I led a multicultural worship team whose responsibility was to lead the morning and evening worship sessions for SIM’s Global Assembly in Thailand March 1-7. SIM country directors from all over the world are meeting March 8-10, and I’ve been invited to lead the worship times for these meetings.
I’ve said before that holding the position I do in a mission that has lived and breathed the motto “By Prayer” for over 120 years is a daunting task. Yet I find that leading others in worship can be equally as daunting. It is a task not entered into nor taken lightly. It is a task that I cannot believe is mine. A task that I am thankful to not be alone in as the Holy Spirit leads and guides us in worship; as my family supports and encourages me, and as many people pray and partner with us in this role.
Thank you for partnering with us as we worship God and are on mission with Him!