What happens if it doesn’t work out?

What if I really tried but didn’t make it to the mission field?

From chapter 9 of “Here to There: How to Get to Your Mission Field”

Here’s the Kindle edition— https://goo.gl/9LrzbK

You thought you were called to go to the mission field. You hoped and prayed and planned to take the Gospel for the glory of Christ to an unreached people group. A variety of reasons and circumstances have now combined to make this unlikely or impossible, at least for now. This shouldn’t mean abandoning missions involvement altogether. What should your next steps be?

First, understand that you are not alone. Many intend to go, but estimates tell us that only about 15% of those who plan to go actually arrive on the field. Intending to go is not a bad thing. Through your passion and heart for missions, you’ve learned a lot. You’ve grown in spiritual maturity and skill in the process.

Second, know that God’s call still stands, though probably not in the same way you thought at the beginning of this process. Maybe you understand more clearly now that following hard after God does not guarantee you a particular slot or role. He obviously intended that you head in that direction for specific purposes in your life and in His plan for others, ultimately for His glory. He always lovingly, graciously, tenaciously calls you to love Christ, to grow to be more like Him, to share Him wherever you are. He calls you to godliness and service and worship, just as much now as ever.

Third, you are not a failure because you didn’t make it to the field. If you were humble and teachable in the process, God will still use all of it for His glory in your life. Your education will help you and others down the road. God uses everything in our lives as a prologue for what He intends for us to do. There is no “second best” in God’s will. Your inability to make it to the field did not come as a surprise to God, nor will it catch Him shorthanded. If you did not sin in the process, you did not somehow let God down. His purposes for you are good and acceptable and perfect. You may have been humbled; you may have to change direction; but you are not a failure.

Fourth, you have become a seasoned “World Christian.” You are in an excellent position to play a different role in missions. You understand more about missions and the process of becoming a missionary than ever before. You are convinced of the importance of the local church in the process. You know about the personal, spiritual, and material costs of going THERE. Let this mark you life! Don’t quench your passion for world missions. Express it and channel it in different ways, including:

• Praying for the unreached, and facilitating others to pray regularly for missions

• Giving generously to missions

• Encouraging and mobilizing others to be a part of God’s heart for the nations.

• Caring for missionaries on the field, ideally with others in a “Barnabas Team” context (see Neal Pirolo’s Serving as Senders book)

• Mobilizing your church for missions by starting or joining your church’s missions team

• Mentoring new missionary candidates

• Welcoming the nations by reaching out cross-culturally in your city

Lastly, don’t blame God. We can mix up God’s call and our own desires. God is neither at fault nor mistaken in your change of intended direction. God’s purposes are still pure and good. Talk to God about this unanticipated diversion. Express your emotions, but don’t blame God; don’t become bitter and resentful. He is sovereign; you are not. He is all loving, kind, gracious, forgiving, and full of integrity. He wants you to pray. He entreats you to approach His throne of mercy. To learn His compassion for you and get a bearing on new direction, spend extra time in His Word. Seek godly counsel, not an audience for your grievances. Try to figure out what new path He is setting before you HERE. Set new goals . Actively seeking to serve Him. Press on!

David C. Meade

David is the founder and Director of Propempo International. He has over 40 years of experience in church planting, pioneering field ministry among UPGs, and leadership both on the field and in nonprofit organizations. He is local church oriented, serving as a Missions Elder for over 20 years. He loves teaching and mentoring church leaders and missionaries preparing for service in the tough places of the world. David loves being a husband, dad and grandfather, fishing, traveling, and being omnivorous. He continues to be an avid proponent of and participant in church planting.

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