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“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me.” — Malachi 3:1

God's Mission Matters

Just be there!

Being, not doing: do we have to “accomplish” anything?

By Hunter Farrell
Abide in love, abide in God” (1 John 4.16).

I have a confession to make: when I look into the eyes of human need around the world — hunger and domestic violence, child trafficking and racial discrimination, war and corruption — sometimes it makes me feel hopeless.

The first tinge of despair in the face of overwhelming need can quickly push me to my tried and true default setting: “DO!” I shift into overdrive to assess the need, develop strategies, seek allies, and problem-solve — to busy myself so that I don’t sink deeper into the painful realization that the world and all its problems are much more than we can ever change.

Oftentimes, when I’m engaging in mission, I feel this need to shift into “DO mode”: compelled to impose my agenda, to fill in the awkward silence when I don’t know what to say next, and silence the growing voice within me that says I can’t even begin to make a difference in this frighteningly complex and different context. It’s then that I recall Jesus’ example, try to set the tasks of mission aside, and ask myself, “What would Jesus do here?”

Often, the answer is right in front of me: he’d be playing soccer with the kids, listening to the recently fired workers grieve the loss of their jobs and livelihood, sitting beside the mother whose son has gone off to war: he would embody Emmanuel, God with us, and invite me to be that presence in the world. Jesus would just be there; being, not doing or trying, to necessarily, “accomplish” something.

Listen to this episode of “God’s Mission Matters” and hear stories by Doug Welch, former mission worker in Congo for 20 years and Rob Fohr, former Young Adult Volunteer to Argentina.

Just be there! episode toolkit

Use these resources to equip your congregation, network, youth group and other groups in your church for mission involvement. You may use any of these for activities in the context of Bible studies, Sunday Bible class, Sunday worship service and committee or session meetings.

  • God’s Mission Matters: Just be there!
    Prefer printed? Download and read this ready-to-print booklet  including the text of the podcast, a study guide for group leaders and a reflection on popular culture. This is a great tool for a learning session in your congregation or mission group context.

  • PowerPoint
    This PowerPoint slide show is a supplement of the study guide.

  • Matters from Pop Culture: Stand by Me
  • My Story Matters
    Listen to other stories on "Just be there!” as a good practice in mission.
    • Elaine Matthes: Listen to Elaine’s story about reuniting with a young woman  from Elaine’s work in Romania
    • Ellen Dozier: Ellen talks about her time building relationships in Guatemala
    • Webinar - Download Just be there! webinar recording
  • Contact: