The Transfiguration is a familiar story that is found within all three of the synoptic Gospels. In it, we find that Jesus, Peter, James and John have ascended a mountain. There they experience God in new and extraordinary ways. Following the event, Peter exclaims that they should stay right there and bask in the presence of God forever; however, Luke’s Gospel explains that Peter did not know what he was saying. They leave the mountain and continue doing God’s work among the people below.
Many a youth minister has closed out a trip by referring to this passage. Whenever one engages in mission—the Missio Dei—they generally feel a spiritual high by the time a week-long mission trip ends. I can think of no better example than the Youth Family’s recent mission trip to Puerto Rico. Our youth bonded with the people of San Juan in ways they never expected, and it was easy to see the transformation that occurred in each of them over the course of the week. It was a beautiful experience, but one that felt like it ended as the wheels of our plane touched down on the tarmac.
Fortunately, the Mission of God is not so easily defined. There is work to be done right here in our own backyard, and First Baptist knows that well. We are beginning a missions emphasis as a part of the Youth Ministry this fall. This new endeavor will revolve around partnering with a local area ministry over the course of a semester. We will work with these partners to bring both education and service components to our yearly schedule. We will do what we can to work alongside others to meet the needs of our community while reminding ourselves that the Mission of God happens both on and off the mountain.