Why Do I Travel And Speak?

I was having a conversation with someone the other day, and they asked me about how to begin to find opportunities to travel and speak. They'd noted that they've seen that I've been out from time to time and wondered how they could start to do the same thing. Quite honestly, I didn't feel like I had a lot of great advice to offer. I am continually baffled at God's grace toward me and believe that it is He that has been a real catalyst for any interest in anyone wanting to hear anything I'd have to say. But the first question that came to my mind when they asked was, "why do you want to do it?" Which, of course, caused me to look inward and ask myself the same question.I have the humbling privilege of serving as a teaching pastor at Church of the City, a church family that I love deeply and dearly. I have the honor of meeting with people throughout the week to chat about life, family, struggles and the gospel. I love the city that I live in and the people that inhabit it. So, it certainly begs the question, "why would I want to go to speak other places?"The Hope of the GospelAs my friend JR Woodward helped me to realize through his brilliant book "Creating A Missional Culture," I have the heart of a pastor/evangelist. I simply love the opportunity to invite people into the story of God. I truly believe that when we discover the great love of Jesus, it can change everything. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that he was "eager to preach" the gospel to them. Paul felt this way because he understood that the gospel held "the power of God for salvation for those who believed." This fact was true then and continues to be true for us today! This great love of Christ compels me to respond to His leading and to share the story of Jesus.The Shared Vision of our FamilyWhether I am serving in my capacity at the church or if I am traveling to speak in another state, my wife and I wholeheartedly believe that we are in it together. We regularly remind one another that we are a team when it comes to responding to God's call to point to hope in Him. This reminder is critical in encouraging one another when the road of life becomes challenging. We've identified that it is not "my" ministry that she supports, but ours to share in different roles of regular practice.The Covering of the ChurchIt is an incredible blessing for anyone when you are a part of a church community that helps you to identify and encourages you in your gifts. It is vital for me to know that my church is in support of my going and preaching in whatever capacity. I don't ever want to do anything to hinder the health and function of our church. In our leadership team, we understand that there is a mutual benefit to traveling on occasion. When we go, what we speak about is substantiated by real relationships, which provides accountability to the messages we share. What we experience when we are gone helps to shape, challenge and enhance what we are doing in our local community. Ultimately, the advancement of the Kingdom is our only aim.The Endorsement of Friends, Mentors, and PeersOne of the things that the Lord has shown me is that if I want to experience "koinonia" biblical community, I have to "give myself over" and trust the wisdom of others in speaking into my life's direction. Part of the impetus to be open to traveling is the endorsement of those who know me well and tell me the truth about the gifts that the Lord has given me to use. Without real relationship and accountability, it's possible to become consumed with developing my platform or become passive and not engage or speak at all. Listening to what others see in me, learning from others' experiences and challenged by vulnerable stories of others' failures has allowed me to gain and maintain a proper perspective of what it means to speak in the name of Jesus.A Supplement to Other MinistriesAs it talks about in the book of Corinthians, as followers of Jesus, we are "one body with many parts." In our church community, we've realized the benefit of a multiplicity of voices pointing to the hope that we have in Jesus. The beauty of the diversity of lives and insights helps to reinforce the redemption and reconciliation of the gospel. My sharing in different contexts allows me to be just a small part of a collective movement toward finding freedom and forgiveness in Christ. I love that we, as the body of Christ, get to work together and support one another to this end.Clearly, this list is not exhaustive but an overview of what I believe to be the direction of the Lord in my life in this season. I know and take very seriously that there are many potential pitfalls and dangers when you travel. Because of the reasons shared above and an appropriate awareness, I feel excited to respond to the leading of the Spirit in this area. I also understand that not every individual that is a communicator or speaker will answer the question in this way. The important thing, I believe, is that we do have a reply. I'm open to the Lord continuing to shape and mold me as I move forward in cheerful obedience to what he has for me.It is an unbelievable privilege to share the story of Jesus. Whether at home or away, I have purposed that this will be my life's mission. I'm so grateful for the prayer and encouragement of so many in my life to ensure that this will be the case.