The Very Strength of God
by Caleb Nelson, Intern, First Church of Merrimack, Merrimack, NH
Caleb served on the short-term missions team from the Presbytery of New York and New England that conducted the 2015 "English for Kids" Bible Camp in St-Georges de Beauce, Quebec.
Our team was huge—twenty-one Americans and four Quebecois serving as full-time staff for an English camp with fifty French-speaking campers. I became intensely conscious of the power in the church of Jesus Christ. I am paid full-time to do church work. Everyone else was a volunteer, giving an entire week of his time to serving Jesus in a little town most of us had never heard of. Behind this generosity stood the generosity of our churches back home, paying our way, reimbursing our van rental, buying us meals, and praying for us.
Before we left, I was boning up on the Dutch Second Reformation theologian Gisbertus Voetius. Unlike every other mission theologian I’ve read, Voetius treats mission not in terms of going but in terms of sending. Who sends? Who is sent? Why are they sent? To whom are they sent? Using the Biblical language of “sending” from Romans 10 makes his work far more powerful—and it echoed in my head throughout the week. I was keenly conscious of having been sent. We were not in St-Georges de Beauce on our own authority. We were there because our church had sent us, supported us, and told us to speak in the name of Jesus.
The strength in the church is the very strength of God. I felt the muscles of His mighty arm last week. I can’t wait to go back.