My parents didn’t raise me to be a sectarian. I don’t know where I got it from. I was born and raised in the Church of Christ, which I’m sure had something to do with it—though most churches I interacted with weren’t the, “We are the only ones going to heaven” kind.

I didn’t know, back in those days, what to do with people of other tribes. What to do with all these Presbyterians, Baptists, Calvary Chapelers, Methodists, and the like? They preached some mighty fine sermons, seemed like nice people and wrote some great music. But, that didn’t make them right.

I know for many readers of this blog, you’ll be puzzled by this struggle. I’m puzzled by it as well… in hindsight.

This morning, I’m leaving with some other pastors for a vision trip sponsored by Compassion International. I’m sorry to say, the last time I was overseas for mission purposes was in 2001, when I spent some weeks in Kiev, Ukraine with Let’s Start Talking. I’ve been to mission points in Mexico and throughout the Unites States since then. I’ve even planted a church and the churches I’ve served have sent dozens of teams overseas, planted churches throughout the United States and around the world. But, I’m sorry to say when the plane touches down in Quito late tonight, I will be overseas for a missional purpose for the first time in…well, too long.

I say, “too long” not only because of the worthwhile work that goes on overseas, but also because of how it’s changed me over the years. There are some things one encounters only elsewhere. So, for the next few weeks, I want to feature some leadership lessons from my missionary adventures over the years in Mexico, Thailand, Ukraine, and Ecuador. If you enjoy this blog or have been blessed in any way by my ministry–know these short-term mission projects are a part of my ministerial makeup. I look forward to sharing why with you over the next couple of weeks. These are some of the watershed moments that changed who I am and how I serve the Lord.