Well, I’m on my way.
This week is major step in my life. I’m on an airplane to Los Angeles for the annual Engage retreat, a week of learning, interviews and exercises designed to help me know whether or not Christian Associates is the right organization for me and, vice-versa, whether I’m right for CA. I hope the week also helps me discover what role in a church planting is best for me. My personal longing is to be a pastor/counselor/teacher but is that where I fit best on a team? Is there another role I can fill? I’ve done an excessive amount of thinking, analyzing and even some praying. We’ll see where God leads!
My particular interest is Scotland (“Poor guy,” you say!). Why? Several reasons.
— First of all, there is need for the presentation of the Gospel there just as there is in other parts of the world. The opposition to the Gospel there is not from another religion or a stern government. It’s mainly from a significant sense of apathy and irrelevance. Atheism is on the rise and many of the youths have rejected the Church of their parents in favor of alternative spiritualities or complete ignorance.
— Another reason has to do with family. My dad’s ancestral family is Scottish. The Robisons came to America from western Scotland in the late 1700’s but deep Scottish blood remained in the family for generations in the form of Cook, MacKnight and McNeil, all in my bloodline. As a result, I grew up with Scotland on the family pedestal thanks to my parents. They wanted us kids to know where we came from and to be proud of it.
— A third reason has to do with personal experience. The only place across the Atlantic I’ve been is Scotland. So I have memories and experiences from the trip.
— Finally, I like to golf. And golf was created in Scotland. Ergo, I should go to Scotland. Just kidding. Maybe.
For four years I’ve been seeking the Lord’s guidance and pleading for His action in my life. I’ve looked around home and searched across the country for a place in ministry that not only fit me, personally, but also was a desire of my heart. The two weren’t lining up. Frustration ensued. Doubt, even. But then came a series of encounters with European missionaries over the course of a year that worked on my mind and heart. Finally I saw this prayer request on a mission agency website: “Pray for Scotland. And pray for the Lord to raise up men and women with a heart for Scotland to go and plant churches there.” I was sold. I wanted to help and see what the Lord was going to do in Scotland.
A few clicks of the mouse and several personal contacts later and I was connected to Christian Associates. Now I’m in major learning mode, learning more about CA and its mission, its people, and how I might be able to serve both.
I’m starting this October journey with a night’s stay in a Travelodge in El Segundo, California. Seems I can’t remember minute details like I used to. Batting averages? Got it. Sermon titles? A cinch. The date the conference starts? Uhhh… So I arrived a day early by accident and got a ride in a police car to the Travelodge a few blocks south of the airport. Seems there’s a highway and a tunnel and… a bad part of town or something. The officer didn’t want me walking (thanks a bunch, LAPD’s Joe T!). So I got to ride in the front seat of a cruiser, which was a first. Wait a minute, not to say that, umm, I’ve ever… ah, never mind.
Like the free LAPD ride, this scheduling misstep on my part is actually a big blessing. I’ve been exhausted lately and the one thing I really need right now is a good night’s sleep. Especially as I go into this most important week. And the lady at the front desk gave me a discount when I batted my eyes… err, looked down at the floor and asked for a room. So far God is batting 2-for-2. Another perfect average. I so don’t deserve His blessing.
Here’s a video about CA featuring CA Prez Rob Fairbanks: