One of the saddest things that I see in missions is people abandoning what they know so that that they can fit in as the stereotypical young missionary. It doesn’t matter if they have trained to be a teacher, an engineer, a scientist, etc. Instead they stand in front of kids, sing songs and dance because that’s what they think they are “supposed to do”.
Let’s face it, many of our short term missions programs don’t to much to dissuade this mentality either.
When I started in YWAM on my YWAM Discipleship Training School I did dance, singing, sports and drama. I also had the chance to speak in front of churches, youth groups, schools, prisons and a village in Vanuatu. It was an amazing opportunity, don’t get me wrong, but it certainly didn’t use any of my strengths.
What was interesting, and something that I usually don’t admit to, was that after my DTS I was asked to teach dance and drama! It was, shall we say, entertaining. I’m sure many of my former students still cringe in memory of my teaching in these areas…
It wasn’t until I had served for quite a few years until I was able to actually use some of the skills and knowledge that I had gained before going into missions. Then it wasn’t until I actually left the local YWAM Centre I was working at and worked with the GENESIS Centre, and eventually joined the International Chairman’s Team, that I was able to work full-time in missions using more of that knowledge.
I enjoy talking with my eight-year old son about what he wants to do when he grows up. One minute it’s a scientist, then a pilot, a police officer, an astronaut, a missionary, a professional football (soccer) player, doctor, etc. At the age of eight the world is open to anything he can think of wanting to do, and my job as a parent is to help him find what God has created him to do (no big task right!).
We’ve been talking a lot about what “gifts” God has given him and what areas he is already good at. Tamara and I can already see things that he excels at and want to encouraging him in those areas, while still helping him grow in the areas he doesn’t excel at.
I would hate to see Caleb put into a position where he would not be using his God given gifts. I don’t believe that God gives any of us these gifts for us to not use them. To not use them is certainly not being good stewards of what God has given us.
Responsible for our Worker’s Gifts
As missions leaders we are responsible for the gifts that our people bring to the mission. We need to make sure not to take them for granted, but rather to realise that they have God given gifts that we need to be good stewards of.
Like the parable of the talents states in Matthew 25:14-30, if we don’t prove faithful to God with the few that he firsts gives us, He will not trust us with more…