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Why the World Race?

  Misha just walked into my room. She’s been on the WR and is here for CGA now. She didn’t beat around the bush, “Why do we have the World Race?” She asked.   I began to speak. I hadn’t even started to wax eloquent yet and she pulled out her phone and said, “mind if I record this?”…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Misha just walked into my room. She’s been on the WR and is here for CGA now. She didn’t beat around the bush, “Why do we have the World Race?” She asked.
I began to speak. I hadn’t even started to wax eloquent yet and she pulled out her phone and said, “mind if I record this?” What I said next is something I’ve shared hundreds of times. But because “vision leaks,” I keep doing it. So here are three reasons why we do the World Race.
1. It’s God’s Dream
He gave this to us. He specifically gave it to me and a few others as an idea to steward in partnership with others. It was never mine. And from the outset, I knew that it would reach thousands
We all need to be discipled and Jesus used the context of a journey to do his discipling. A journey takes you out of your comfort zone, away from the things that are familiar, and it gives you the opportunity to depend on God in new ways.
The WR takes you to new countries where you have to navigate strange cultures, develop new relationships, and learn new ways of living that render your comfort zone irrelevant. 

A new culture will do that to you. Suffer from arachnophobia? Then you’ll love Cambodia where they eat large spiders. Or travel to Peru and you might find yourself gagging when they serve you chicha, a drink made from chewed up yucca. Don’t like snakes? Then you’ll want to steer clear of the jungles of Papua New Guinea.

2. It’s God’s Pattern
Second, God has always trained those he called to represent him through a journey away from home. He sent Adam out from the garden, Noah out from dry land, Abraham out from Ur, Isaac out from Beer Lahai Roi and Jesus himself on a three year journey where he had “no place to lay his head.”  
It’s remarkable how, to give people stories, God sends them on a journey.  On a journey the story acquires new settings, characters and plot twists. We develop new neural pathways on a journey.
We need journeys to be called into new levels of dependency on God and new levels of intimacy as he comes through for you. God allows the privilege of abandoning the things that have caused us to grow into a false identity (a false self) and then shows us who he made us to really be.
3. We Need Discipleship
Third, our lives are so crammed full of noise and stuff these days. We parents coddle our young people. We want them to “have it better than we did,” so we deprive them of the gift of failure or even the consequences of their actions. So they grow up unfamiliar with failure and therefore afraid of it.
Our children deserve better. We teach them about Jesus, but will we ever trust them to Jesus? Will we ever give them the chance to be discipled as Jesus would like to disciple them?
Young men especially are not shown how to walk in responsibility. Instead they have this protracted adolescence. Young people are bored and cynical. They desperately need a rite of initiation that says, “Here is what it means to walk as a man or a woman in the kingdom of God.”
The World Race, at its best, is a rite of initiation. It says, “Yes, you’ve been weaned to seek first your own comfort, but here’s what it looks like to seek first the kingdom.” It says, “You may have thought that the latest X-box was a thrill, but consider seeing the world from God’s perspective and joining with him in setting it free.”
The World Race isn’t just a good idea, it’s an experience that opens your spiritual eyes and imagination. It’s a re-set of what you thought was normal. It shows you that the church isn’t the boring box your parents put God in, it’s actually about community that brings you life and excitement. It shows you that you were made for more than a Groundhog Day existence.
After ten years, I’m still passionate about this stuff. I still believe that we’ve just scratched around the edges of this thing – that it has so much more potential than we’ve realized so far.
It’s a gift that God doesn’t just want to reserve for a privileged few Americans, but wants us to share with the world. 

Comments (2)

  • A journey is travel from one place to another. We can not be true followers/disciples of Jesus unless we follow Him. A disciple is a pupil of Christ…a learner of Christ. I believe parents need to teach their children this from a young age. I can teach you and show you Jesus, but YOU need to know Jesus personally for yourself. We can not live our child’s journey for them or protect them from it either. We need to encourage them early on about this journey and what it means to grow up in the Lord. As parents we need to teach our kids early that to surrender their life completely to Jesus is how they will truly find it (not just salvation). Too many parents tell their kids you can do anything you want to do or set your mind to do. What we should be telling them is to seek God with all your heart and find out what HE wants for your life. Teach them that when they lay their life down in the hands of their loving, faithful Father, HE will show them what He has called them to do and what His will is for them. This requires time in His Word and in His presence, prayer and obedience. Speaking words of Christ are not the same as living the words of Christ. We can not do this for our kids but we certainly can point them the right way and should be doing everything we can to encourage this as they are growing up. All of us have a journey and that journey is to lose ourselves to find ourselves (our real selves) IN HIM. The journey takes us from “self” to HIM…..from being self-centered to being God-centered. We need Him. When we allow Jesus to teach us through His Word and through experience, we become more and more Christ-like which is the goal of the journey and that is centered around loving others in word and deed. I love the passion you have for what God has put in your heart to do. I believe that our passion becomes greater and greater the more we learn from Him and then in turn do something with what we learn…..to grow in grace, from faith to faith which causes us to be the doers of the Word we hear. God bless!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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