To be honest, we joined Paraclete Mission Group as Mission Associates this year mainly because it was relatively easy. While we respect the thorough vetting and training processes of many other mission agencies, we loved that Paraclete, on the strength of personal recommendations, was willing to take us on, funnel our giving, and back us up without a cumbersome, time- consuming process. We didn’t give a lot of thought to the name or the mission statement—we liked it well enough but didn’t ponder it in depth. But its brevity allows it to pack a punch, and it has haunted me the past few weeks, in particular a vexing preposition that I’m finding harder to pull off than I would like to admit.
The mission statement reads, “To glorify God by coming alongside the global missions community to enhance Kingdom effectiveness.”
I love that, and I’m most drawn to that sixth word. Alongside is a preposition that flows from their understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Paraclete, as many of you know, refers to the Greek designation for the Holy Spirit, particularly in John 16:7, as the one who comes alongside as our Comforter and Advocate. Alongside is defined as, “Close to the side of, next to, together and in cooperation with.” We met some very impressive missionaries in Albania, Doni and Gail Lilo, who work with Alongside Ministries. They seemed to us to embody the spirit of coming alongside as they humbly used their many gifts to serve their town and their church.
I don’t think alongside comes naturally to us as North Americans. I can think of two prepositional tactics I’m better at, and I’ve reverted to both modes a good bit in the last few months:
Alongside—it’s a good word for Advent, isn’t it? Christ went to great lengths to be able to come alongside God’s people. May you sense the Spirit of the Risen Christ coming alongside you in this joyful season.
Rich and Lisa Lamb