Global Connect Training: Session 4


You have made it to the fourth and final session in part one of Global Connect — well done! We have covered some important ideological ground but a few questions remain. We think one in particular may be on your mind. Yes, there are things we don’t think is right with the world. Yes, we think things need to be addressed. Homelessness haunts us, children unable to attend school, elderly suffering without access to modern medicines. Yes, but … Yes, but what can I do?

We waited for this final session to address this fundamental issue. What in the world can we do about the world? Doesn’t God know who I am? I lack expertise. I lack qualifications. My resources are limited.

People told and retold stories in the Bible and history that address these core questions. When people got stingy with generosity in Malachi, God challenged them to look at their blessings and trust their convictions. When Jesus spoke of God pouring out talent, he said it was best used not buried. And when Saint Paul encouraged early Christians he assured them again and again that God would be with them as life became full.

Another story comes to mind as well … You might remember the story of Jesus’ mother, Mary. An unwed teenager in a religiously-conservative small town, she was asked to do something extraordinary. We remember Mary as the mother of Jesus, but what about that moment? The moment when Mary was asked to have faith that God would do something she couldn’t imagine. Her response is captured in the first chapter in the book of Luke and it is known as the “Magnificat”—it is a poem, a song.

In those life-altering moments as Mary considered all God was asking, her lyrics set the tone for Jesus’ radical and controversial ministry that was to come:

“You have shown strength with your arm;
You have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly”

And all of this in the days of Caesar Augustus — when a foreign power ruled the land …

Our level of courage might not rise to the level of Mary but we have strength inside as well. And when we consider what we have to give to help make the world a better place we know we have more than a checkbook or a unique skill. Again and again in the Bible God uses people who may not appear or don’t feel worthy — an ill-equipped shepherd boy, an unwed teenage girl, a fisherman tired from fishing all night. The question undoubtedly ringing in their ears — “but me?”

Yet, as with Mary, God shows up. As people around the world put hand to work in challenging situations miracles occur. Children find voice and hope in a new school, diseases are cured, parties are partied as people work together for a better world. All of it the result of people working together and trusting they have something to offer.

You have something unique to offer. Don’t reduce yourself to a checkbook or sit on the sidelines. You as you are enough. This is a central message of work in the world with which Christians walk. Today, in this place, you may make a difference in the world.

The last four sessions have been a primer on developing a worldview around why United Methodists, in particular, labor to “do good” in the world. It doesn’t seem all is right in the world, we think things can be done about that, we want to work together, and we think each individual has something to contribute.

So where does that leave us? The next section in this series explores cultural competency — that is, what are some cultural blinders we may have, the ways in which culture matters to relationship, and how can we be more adept at working with people of all backgrounds and convictions. We invite you to explore this material. If you later go on to lead a mission experience, a coach will use this information to help you prepare. Yet, whatever your role, we all benefit when we develop tools to increase our ability to communicate cross-culturally.

Discussion Questions

Click here to view the discussion questions for all sessions in PDF format.
  1. What resources do you think are important to engaging in mission?
  2. Does a perceived lack of resources ever keep you from engaging in service to others? What resources do you have that might not at first appear like resources?
  3. Read Luke 1:26-56. What do you think it felt like to be Mary or Elizabeth?
  4. Why do you think God works with/blesses ordinary people again and again in the Bible?
  5. What hope do these stories give us for work in our own time and space?
  6. Share some things you think you have to contribute and let others add to your list!