Have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about why God brought surfing into your life? From the moment you drug that board into the churning whitewash until now, God has been there. Could He care less if you surfed or is their something He had in mind as the events of your life brought you to His ocean? Well, maybe it’s because surfing will be the door that opens you up to God’s mission.
God’s mission is not a secret. Jesus spelled it out to his friends shortly before he ascended into heaven and went home. It’s there for us to read in the 28th chapter of Matthew’s gospel. The mission is to go, and make other followers of Jesus (disciples) and teach them and baptize them so that their faith becomes a public thing, known to more than just them. And just where does surfing fit into all that? In ways that are deeper than you could know.
Certainly, you can go to your local beach and get busy: serve people, love them well, earn the right to be heard, and then as best as you know how, introduce people to Jesus the Christ, who died and yet rose again, so He’s therefore still out there, very much alive…although we can’t see Him. It’s a great place to begin: be a Christian surfer in the US and express willingness to reach the surfers in the US.
But why stop there? Because around the world there are places that surfers are uniquely equipped to go and share the good news at. Take all the nations around the Indian Ocean, for example: the Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Amaden Islands off India, and of course, the greatest surfing playground on earth: Indonesia. But keep looking at that map, because waves in that ocean also make it up to places like Yemen and Somalia a—a sure bet for warm water, empty line-ups and danger. More on the danger part in a minute.
What’s the common thread to all these surf-rich locales? Few Jesus followers live there. In fact, for the most part, none at all. These nations contain a good chunk of the two billion people on this earth that have never heard the Good News about Jesus. For these people, there’s no church in their community, no bible in their language that they read, no Jesus film that they can watch, no Christian friend to ask questions of, no bookstore that would contain any materials to help them if they wanted to explore who Jesus is.
Most Christian workers will never get there. In fact, 75% of the entire global missions force goes to countries that have had the Good News for, in many cases, hundreds of years.
But you might get there. You are a surfer, and surfers fit in these places. You could actually go to one of these places and serve amongst new friends and pray for them and talk about your life, and better their world by contributing to their economy. It all starts with a plan: start saving some money and some vacation time. Choose one of these far flung destinations where surfers are welcome, because they are not generally held in suspicion as being a “missionary” (considered a bad word in these places) or “CIA” (not good, either). Is it as safe as the English speaking destinations like Hawaii and Puerto Rico? No. It’s not safe.
Stuff happens. Sometimes bad things happen. But what is more terrifying than having something bad happen is to have nothing happen at all.
Modern society, of course, has perfected the art of having nothing happen at all. There is nothing particularly wrong with this except that for vast numbers of Christians in the US, life has become staggeringly easy. And with that, truly unfulfilling. Our lifestyle goals often revolve around eliminating as many unforeseen events as possible, and as appealing as that seems initially, it’s a death sentence to your soul.
This then is the backdrop to where adventure (think mission) comes in. The word comes from the latin adventura meaning “what must happen.” So you see, an adventure is a situation where the outcomes are not under your control. It’s up to God, in other words.
God must love adventure, because he’s very straight up about “what must happen.” Jesus said, here’s what must happen:
“and this gospel will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Presently we stand at a place in history where there are roughly 6000 nations (or people groups) that are still waiting for good news. In 10% of those groups, no one has even attempted…yet. And you can bet that many of these groups have gorgeous waves peeling along their beaches and reefs. What other details do you really need? May you be lead into God’s greatest adventure!
Special note: to get started in traveling to an unreached people group in order to surf and bring the Gospel, CSUS recommends highly Shema Tours, who exist to take surfers like you…into the danger zone. Take a step toward mission by contacting them through their website, http://www.shemahtours.com/