Alexandra Zamora spends her time teaching, training, and equipping churches in North America to engage in God’s mission around the world. Zamora’s passion for prayer, for knowing God deeply, and for the church to reach out to those who have not yet heard the gospel is evident. Perhaps her heart and mind for bringing the good news to others are so passionate because it was through the witness of Christians she met in the midst of travel that she received her first Bible then heard about the love of God for her. Zamora offered a word of instruction and encouragement to HANA communities entering into God’s mission. Referencing David Bosch’s seminal work Transforming Mission, she reminded participants the different ways God’s mission has been pursued over time which have both responsibly carried the gospel to those who have not heard as well as compromised the message of the gospel.
She focused the discussion around the “centrifugal force coming from the cross” in which God accomplishes his mission because of his power to do so. “Think about the places you cannot enter saying you are a Christian,” Zamora prompted. “You cannot read the Bible publically, so you have to accomplish the mission without words. That is the power of the cross, that is our God!” She also reminded participants that when we do not walk in the purposes and wisdom of God, mission can go terribly awry, referencing the period of mission under Constantine when the church moved from being “persecuted to the persecutor.”
“We cannot trust in ourselves,” Zamora said, “we have to be close to the Lord and spending time in our Bibles. We have to know ourselves and understand our motivation for engaging in the mission of God. Otherwise, we will look too much like eras of mission when the breakthrough of the faith was accompanied by soldiers of the Roman Empire.” She also raised a provocative question about mission during the 16th and 17th centuries when much of Latin America was colonized and Christianized as one and the same. “Do you believe God was there when our people suffered? How many people paid such a high price in the midst of mission?” Zamora did not rush to offer an answer or rationalization for mission gone awry, which also brought the name of Jesus with it; but she allowed space within the evening to sit with the paradoxes, laments, and brokenness of mission when driven by interests unyoked from critical analysis and biblical reflection. Yet she comforted, “God has always been there, he has been in our history. There is no tear that has come out of our people’s eyes that God will not capitalize for the Kingdom. In the midst of difficulties, we cannot see what God is doing, yet the church keeps growing and remains committed to God’s work in the world.”
Zamora invited participants to see HANA communities today in their contexts and ask, “What will the next paradigm of mission be that originates from us? How will we do mission differently knowing what we know now? We need God to help us to discern how to continue being faithful to the gospel in ways that are more effective, more assertive, more responsible, that hurts less people. Who will be the people and what will be the means by which God continues to reach the world with the good news of Christ?” Through prayer, discernment together, and vision, Zamora encouraged, HANA communities will be able to enter and lead churches and congregants more responsibly into mission for the future of the gospel.
Quotes of the Day
“Lament is not something we can plan out. It comes to us.”
“He called all the pastors to the front, and he knew I was a pastor, but he only pointed out the men. Then he called the pastor’s wives to the front, and invited me to come forward. BUT! I am a head pastor of two churches! I am not a pastor’s wife.”
“If we want our communities to engage in public witness, we need our people to own our stories.”
“There is no tear that has come out of our peoples’ eyes that God is not going to capitalize for his Kingdom.”