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AIM: After 20 years it’s still about discipleship

This month a lot of people showed up in Gainesville to help Karen and I celebrate AIM’s 20 years of existence. It was kind of like the best aspects of a wedding or a funeral for me – an all-too-brief intersection of a group of people who have filled my life with meaning.   I always find …
By Seth Barnes
This month a lot of people showed up in Gainesville to help Karen and I celebrate AIM’s 20 years of existence. It was kind of like the best aspects of a wedding or a funeral for me – an all-too-brief intersection of a group of people who have filled my life with meaning.
 
I always find it interesting when people attribute characteristics to AIM that really are a function, for better or for worse, of me and those around me. “AIM mistreated me,” someone might say, when in fact it was me or one of my coworkers who hurt them. Or, “AIM sure did lead a good men’s project in Matamoros this past week,” when it was Clint Bokelman and his team who led the project.
 
What is AIM anyway? I guess it’s always been a group of my friends who are committed to using the vehicle of missions to disciple others. We love it when the God of intimacy and power introduces himself to participants on our projects. We love taking people out of their humdrum lives and placing them in slums populated by orphans and widows who are starved for hope. We love watching their tears fall as they realize that the God of the oppressed wants to walk through life with them and to use them as his instruments.
 
Along the way, we’ve sought to follow the Spirit and to follow a God-given vision. Ultimately AIM has become a place where a group of my friends can try to disciple people as Jesus did his own disciples. It’s a place where we’ve tried to explore what Jesus had in mind when he charged his disciples with the task of bringing hope to the nations. And it’s become a place that allows us to gather around a common DNA, a place to dream of what it might mean to be part of a tribe.
 
Anniversary years are a great opportunity for looking back and looking forward – to dream new dreams. We dream about taking what we’ve learned about Jesus around the earth as Jesus described it in Matt 24:14. It’s God’s dream, and he’s inviting us to
partner with him in it.

Over the last 20 years, we’ve learned that God is the author of all
kingdom-building dreams and that if we are willing to pray “may your kingdom
come,” he will give us dreams that make that prayer come true.

So going forward, here are three dreams a number of us share:

  1. Our children and their generation walking like Jesus walked. (For a good summary, read Luke 4-10.)

  2. Our children & their friends getting their inheritance.

  3. The kingdom coming in dark places around the world.

Having experienced 20 years of a roller coaster ride with Jesus, I can’t help but believing the best lies ahead. Whether it’s bringing the gospel to the unreached, love to orphans, or freedom to those caught up in the sex trade, we want to be on the front edges of seeing his kingdom established on the earth.

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