Here I Am, Send Me – Andy Byrd
Andy Byrd wants all believers to realize and activate their missional callings
From a young age I began a personal interaction and friendship with Jesus. But like all of us, there were key moments along the way where God became even more “real” more “present”. These moments set a trajectory for my life, defining my relationship and unveiling parts of my destiny. When I was 14 years old I boarded my first international flight to Manila. What I would see would forever shape me.
“The poverty and joy did not compute in my mind as synonymous.“
The poverty and the joy did not compute in my mind as synonymous. How could those who have so little be so much more joyful and content than I who had so much and yet still struggled to sustain a life of joy and contentment. I spent a week with hundreds of blind children whose love for Jesus outshined my own. A seed had been planted. Deeper than I knew. For the nations, for wholeheartedness, for Jesus. Even then I began to tell people that someday I would be a missionary. I didn’t even know what that meant but the seed would soon grow.
At 18, I decided to delay going to university and leave my home of Alaska for a few years to a school with Youth With a Mission called the Discipleship Training School. The school was in Hawaii and certainly that played a role in my decision. I went not really knowing what I was signing up for. In fact, the first week I considered going home multiple times. I considered myself a pretty good Christian. I had good morals and knew a fair amount about God. Little did I know how little I actually knew God himself. Knowing about someone and knowing someone are drastically different.
On the Friday of the first week I found myself in a life-defining moment. I knew God was asking me to go all in! All in like I knew my great grandparents, grandparents and parents had gone. I felt the invitation but also felt the wrestle over truly and joyfully laying down my life and future for a God who I didn’t really understand. You see, over my high school years I had grown to see God as quite professional, a bit distant, rigid, and often disappointed. I had never questioned my faith or His existence but I had yet to encounter His audacious goodness and extravagant love for myself in a meaningful way. As I sat in the back of worship I hit a breaking point. My hesitation, fears and passivity suddenly became revolting to me! I couldn’t stay in that place. I needed raw God, real God, as He really is!
“Surrender all of a sudden became a response, a compulsive reaction to a love that seemed deafening and gentle at the same time.”
Before long I found myself on my knees, forehead on the ground, declaring my love for God in a way that seemed reciprocated before I could even get the words out of my mouth! Every thought I directed towards him was suddenly coming from him before my thoughts could even be formed or put to words. I thought I was initiating a moment of surrender but instead I found myself receiving a deluge of love. Surrender all of a sudden became a response, a compulsive reaction to a love that seemed deafening and gentle at the same time.
I would get up changed! Not immediately mature, not free from every struggle, but truly different! A fire was ignited that I still struggle to find words for. For the last 21 years that fire has never diminished. Life has not always been easy and I am far from perfect but this one thing I can say, all I have known for the last 21 years is an ever growing, deepening, zealous walk with God. I don’t know what it means to plateau. I don’t think it is possible. He is too good, too present, and too full of love!
The Send is a dream in God’s heart. A dream that this generation would take the Great Commission further than any generation in history. A dream that the body of Christ would come together to believe and activate for a global harvest that touches every nation, city, people group, and family! The Send is not the answer or a new brand or an excuse to gather. The Send exists to fulfill one goal: The Great Commission. The Send exists to help every believer realize their missional calling and to activate into a living expression of the love of Jesus!
“Anytime you can have seven strong leaders who each lead their own movements you are going to have some work to create unity and single mindedness.”
At the core of the collaboration is a group of leaders who have joyfully laid down their egos and logos for something bigger than any one of us could accomplish. Our friendships and trust are the strength of the Send’s leadership. Some of us have had the honor of running together for a decade and others of us are newer friends. But the commitment, loyalty, humility and trust run deep! That doesn’t mean it has been easy. Anytime you have seven strong leaders who each lead their own movements you are going to have some work to create unity and single mindedness. However, I can say that the rewards and joys have far outweighed the difficulties. I love these leaders! I know they love me. We would do anything for each other. We care about one another’s families, marriages, personal lives, and personal ministries.
The Heart of Collaboration
I feel one of the reasons this type of collaboration is rare is that it is hard. It takes real humility and real patience. It requires an unoffendable heart and zero suspicion. It also requires real vulnerability and transparency when suspicion or offense knocks at the door. We have had tough conversation and come away with deeper trust and deeper love.
At the core we have to truly live out Philippians 2. It is one thing to quote Bible verses and even another to live it out with those that we lead or that lead us. However, I feel living Philippians 2 humility with peer leaders is the most difficult. There is a reason that brothers in the scripture often have tremendous warfare. Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, David and his brothers and still more.
The NT gives us a firsthand look at the difficulty that peer leaders like Paul and Peter and Paul and Barnabas faced. Yet, we also see that when peer leaders can truly walk in humility that we have some of the greatest stories of scripture! Caleb and Joshua, David and Jonathan, Paul and Barnabas, the disciples, etc.
Living the Great Commission
My prayer for every reader is simple. Let’s make Jesus’ joy complete! Be like minded, have the same love, be one in spirit and in mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition, in humility value others above yourselves. Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus amen!
Together we can change the world. That is not cliché. It’s history, it’s Biblical, and it’s what God is doing today. Imagine what is possible if the motto of ministries, churches and leaders was “heart and soul I am with you”? What could five years from now look like if we linked arms and ran together? A global harvest, a global great awakening? I think so!
Andy Byrd, and his wife Holly, have dedicated their lives to spiritual awakening in a generation. They work with a group of covenant friends committed to consecrated community, Christ-centered living, revival, and cultural reformation.
Andy is part of the leadership of University of the Nations, YWAM Kona and has been with YWAM for 15 years traveling to many different nations with a heart to raise up a revival generation to live in the confluence of a zealous love for God and a sincere love for others. Together, they’ve helped birth “Fire and Fragrance Ministries” and the “School of the Circuit Rider”. The couple have five children – Asher, Hadassah, Rhema, Valor and Chanel.
This article has been adapted from the publication Champions (Vol. III).