Nine Days Away…

Nine more days until my journey to Africa begins. I am overwhelmed with details and packing lists, and assuming that we will arrive for our first concert and realize, “ah snap! We forgot __________ and now the whole show is ruined!!”

Okay, so THAT probably won’t happen… but it doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.

As our band (In Between) has been preparing for this trip, we thought it was important to articulate exactly why WE were going. We could understand big picture, why the whole team of 90+ people were travelling to Africa from our church, but on a micro-scale why is a band of musicians from church travelling halfway across the world to play music?

So after some prayer and processing, here is what we came up with… I’d love to share it with you.

_________________________

I N   B E T W E E N

The Love Liberia Project: 2thousand10

Our band, called “In Between,” is comprised of six musicians from The Grove’s worship ministry. We will be travelling to Liberia, Africa in June (along with 90 other people from our church) on a 2 week missions trip to bring pieces of Heaven to places of Hell on earth.

The following is the Mission Statement and the Goals of what In Between hopes to accomplish while there.

O u r  M i s s i o n:

Through the art of music, we go to broken places on earth and invite people to the place “in between,” where heaven and earth meet.

O u r  G o a l:

To take part in 4 city-wide events, where we will play a concert and serve in tandem with the spoken Word. Through these events, we hope to expose the Liberian people to the person and works of Jesus Christ.

W h y W e  W i l l  G o :

We, the band members of “In Between,” will go to Liberia: for the glory of God, to simply show up and love the people, and to become better followers of Jesus.

W E    G O    F O R    G O D

“God needs people to do his work,” or so says Rob Bell in Jesus Wants to Save Christians. His point, I believe, is this: While God may posses the power or ability to affect change in the world supernaturally, he chooses not to exercise that power. Instead, he is looking for faithful men and women, people with physical bodies, to be his hands and his feet.

The Way of Jesus is the best way. It is the way of love and forgiveness, not hate and bitterness. It is the way of peace and reconciliation, not war and revenge. The way of the Kingdom is what Jesus came to establish. “May your Kingdom come and your will be done on EARTH just as it is in HEAVEN.” These words that Jesus taught us to pray are not just some ideal distant hope. No, they are a reality now that we seek to bring to this world.

We go to Africa because God’s Glory will be shown through us.

We go to Africa because God needs us to go… more so, he WANTS us to go.

We go to Africa because the Name and Way of Jesus is best and only way.

W E    G O    F O R    T H E M

Liberia is in the stage of rebuilding their entire country after years of civil war. Not even a generation has passed since the war ended. War is devastating to society. It destroys people, relationships, infrastructures, systems, government. Maybe worse, though, it destroys hope.

The people in the cities we will travel to need someone to come along side them and tell them that though they felt abandoned and alone during the war, or though they may feel discouraged now as the country rebuilds, that God has always and will always love them and want them. Our smiles, our songs, inject hope and encouragement.

Music is the universal language of the soul. It has a way to cut right through the fears and worries and pierce the heart. The right song can bring healing and hope like no ordinary words can. Music stays with people, and the concerts we go to perform will stay in the minds and hearts of the Liberian people long after we leave.

We go to Africa to plant seeds of hope, love and peace.

We go to Africa because music is important and can change a person.

We go to Africa because if WE won’t, then WHO will??

W E    G O    F O R    U S

“When we go, when we give our lives away in the name and work of Jesus, then we ourselves are changed.” (Palmer Chinchen in True Religion). Something mysterious happens when the people of God leave the comfort of their homes to go to the uncomfortable and broken places. The world becomes both larger and smaller in our eyes.

Larger because we begin to see that the small corner of our world that we live in is not indicative of the world at large. There is so much more on this planet. More culture, more people, more nature and life. Also more hurt, more pain, more poverty, more war and disease. When we go, our perspective is enlarged.

Also, the world becomes smaller. In a way, we are more connected to other people than we realize. We see that they are just like us. They have the same hopes and dreams, the same fears and anxieties. They like what we like, they hate what we hate. In all, they are really not that different from ourselves.

We go to Africa because we need to deepen our perspective.

We go to Africa because it will CHANGE us, and honestly, we need CHANGED

We go to Africa so that we can become “better” followers of Christ.

So Why the name “IN BETWEEN”?

The Celtic Christians talked about “thin places,” places where the divide between Earth and heaven was thinner, places where it was easier to meet with God. (Punk Monk by Andy Freeman).

As I was thinking about a name for our band, I kept coming back to this concept of “thin places.” I think that when the people of God are living out the Kingdom of God, that in that moment, that place becomes a “thin place.” When we do things representative of God’s Kingdom, when we live out the Way of  the Christ, we engage in and interact with “thin places”, where the realities of Heaven and the realities of Earth overlap.

“In Between” is about creating those sorts of moments. It’s about ushering people into the thin places. It’s about the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. We play music to invite people to the “in between” place of God’s home and ours.