“Because his ways are higher than our ways.”
I’ve found that with a willingness to serve, God often finds wonderful ways to prepare us for what lies ahead. Often, our idea of direction undergoes modification. That is, many times the preparations we made when we were willing turn out to be the exact preparations needed for the vision that overtakes us as we follow his leading. And sometimes the task that we take on in our willingness turns out to be a better preparation than the task we would have chosen.
Think on Exodus 13:17: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.”
Answer from John Crouch MD, executive director of In His Image Medical Missions.
“God’s plan for us in missions isn’t limited to our education.”
I once heard Elizabeth Elliot say at an Urbana Student Missions Conference: “Never let your education stand in the way of the will of God.” This is a startling statement for so many young people who often assume their education is or will be the primary avenue of future ministry.
The Spirit has wired you with a particular set of spiritual gifts as well as given you a specific call that matches your ministry burden and passion. Your undergraduate degree and even graduate work in hand may contribute to that calling. But do not hesitate if you sense the Spirit leading you into a role that does not depend on your previous education. Go with the Spirit.
From my experience, about 60 percent of those who end up in missions can utilize their undergraduate major and degree. Others find that the Spirit is directing them into a new arena of outreach, where they lead out of their giftings rather than their competence and learned skills. Listening to God is the best way to remain in alignment with the often-surprising leading of the Spirit.
Answer from Steve Hoke of Church Resource Ministries, author of The Global Mission Handbook.
“He sees what you can’t see.”
God sees things you can’t see, both in you and in the setting to which he is sending you. When we focus on the task, we may not appreciate what he is doing through the process in our lives and character.
He may be building to you in some of these areas:
– A simple faith and obedient heart
– Insight into the Word, people, and life
– Giving up the tangible for the intangible
– Understanding and being flexible with people who are different from you
– Knowing and developing your gifts
– Drawing others to Jesus
– Striving for him, yet resting in him
– Finding your part in the intriguing and unlikely growth of the Church through the centuries
In your call to missions and leadership, you will regularly receive ongoing spontaneous training in each of the above, taking you to a deeper level, and moving these values from your head to your hands, from understanding to practice.
Answer from David, who served with One Challenge in Guatemala, Columbia and the US for twenty years and currently serves with Mission Data International.