How Getting a “D” Helped Me Pursue United Local Missions
By Milan Homola, Executive Director & Co-Founder
I really enjoy the study of history. The root of that enjoyment can be traced back to a motivational moment. I was in 7th grade and I was getting a “D” in Mr. Dierson’s history class. Mr. Dierson called my dad and voilá, I became motivated. I spent time after school doing extra credit and pouring newfound energy into projects. The outcome was a serious enjoyment of the study of the past. By 8th grade, I had become so driven in this study, that I knew I would be a history major in college.
By the time I went to college the motivation, far removed from a disciplinary conversation with my dad, was rooted in this deep desire to be somebody—to make a name for myself. I did bold, driven things that most 19-year-olds don’t do. I taught a senior level history class on Brazilian cinema as a sophomore. I hand wrote a letter to Doris Kearns Goodwin to ask how I could do her job…she wrote me a great letter back. I became the vice-president of the local history association; arguably the most revealing of my abnormally nerdy disposition.
Then Jesus got my attention. Suddenly these previous motivations felt empty and self-serving. But what would I do with this driven nature now? I had a deep sense that if I was going to be fully motivated than I wanted to be part of something that mattered.
That is why I do what I do now. I got to be part of starting and leading something that matters.
I’m driven by this rooted truth:
God deeply desires to pursue all people, and one of the most overlooked and culturally relevant ways to have this reality live in and through us is to participate in, display, and live out unity and compassion. Unity amongst local churches, in a local neighborhood, displaying the compassion of Jesus as one body of believers.
This truth drives me. I get fired up by walking into a coffee shop where 3 or 4 church influencers are gathered around the table to dream together about how they could tackle a particular need in their community as a joint force. I’m amazed when I see a few hundred volunteers come together at a Compassion Clinic from a dozen churches and they smile and love on guests as though they had known each other for decades. I get through my dark, tough days when I think of the young women who have new life in Jesus because they were mentored away from sex-trafficking by a group of women from various churches in a neighborhood.
I still love the study of history. Now I’m more motivated than ever to labor so that The Church might not repeat the divisive competitive moments in its history. And better yet, I’m interested in a future that can be reflected now…a future where “multitudes from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,” will unite in their honoring of Almighty God.
Questions to ponder:
- If Jesus’ final prayer was for oneness amongst 21st-century followers of his way, where do activities of oneness show up in your strategic plan, objectives, values, etc?
- What are the honest barriers in your life and organization that block you from radical compassion for the least of these in your geographical area?