“‘For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.’” Matthew 18:20
Growing up in rural Alabama, I was a typical American boy who watched Saturday morning cartoons. Most were filled with heroes like Superman, Spiderman, Batman and the Lone Ranger. The rugged individualism portrayed by superheroes was an important cultural value. I thought that, surely, I should aspire to be that kind of hero in my generation.
When my heart was challenged with Jesus’ Great Commission, I sold my car to buy one-way tickets for myself and my family to Thailand. I wanted to join the ranks of Hudson Taylor, C.T. Stud and Adoniram Judson in spreading the Gospel to the world.
But, it did not take me long to discover that I was no superman. I was in a place where there was a ratio of less than one believer for every 10,000 people. The suffocating heat, the tropical diseases, a difficult language and the spiritual battles were all factors that quickly overwhelmed me. I ended up in a hospital with exhaustion. I hardly felt like a hero, and certainly not a superhero.
I arrived in Asia and had much to learn. Thankfully, I had a wonderful Thai leader who took me aside and shared his life and ministry with me. We traveled together, ministered together, and I began to understand how much I needed and appreciated him. He became a hero to me. I learned so much from him.
Have you ever noticed who the heroes are on Saturday morning cartoons now? My sons grew up watching Ninja Turtles and Transformers. Today, we have the Avengers and the Justice League. We live in a world that has begun to see the value of teams – teams of heroes with special gifts and abilities which, when combined, can defeat the greatest enemy.
Jesus knew the power of teams. He called and traveled with a team of disciples. He sent them out in pairs and groups, not as individuals. To function well in God’s Kingdom, we need to learn how to be good team players. There’s no need to try to be the superhero in a world where it will take a team, multiple teams in fact, to fulfill the Great Commission.
I now recognize that when Reach A Village comes alongside local leaders and workers as part of their team, Jesus is truly in our midst.