This blog focuses on the ever-changing nature of service to Christ, specifically the multi-vocational minister coming into new prominence at the dawn of the 3rd millennium.
Last year I finished a Master of Arts in Global Leadership at Fuller Seminary. I’ll never forget an article I read that stated that the World War II generation tended to work in one profession / company their whole lives, baby-boomers one profession / perhaps multiple companies, and gen-x changing profession several times during their careers. Of millennial it was said that the 10 most popular jobs among them didn’t even exist in 2000, and that they changed professions about ever 2 to 5 years.
As I have taught on missions and spiritual leadership around the world over the past 24 years, I’ve often felt the tension between generations regarding persevering and maintaining focus on one’s calling. My wife and my journey has included times when we received 100% of our financial support from donors, times when we did part-time for-profit work and times when we received salaries from our ministry positions.
In addition to this my wife and I have the destabilizing factor of long-term cross-cultural missions. It’s been three months since our family relocated to the U.S. to, among other things, assist my father in his global ministry. It’s amazing how missionaries underestimate the time of readjusting to and from cross-cultural contexts. Nowadays I’m thinking that if I spent 16 years in Brazil perhaps it will take 16 months to readjust to life in the U.S. As Kati and I return to the U.S. we have three children with us who only know America from annual trips for Christmas.
I believe that God is very gentle with us, leading us, “with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them” (Hos. 11:4). The only way to survive in missions and ministry in the quickly changing world we live in is to receive God’s grace for times of transition. Many voices around us will bring confusion as they try, with the best intentions, to settle and establish our lives in a way that is acceptable to a specific cultural context. But the Father’s voice leads us in a direction that will at times challenge societal norms… and that will lead to a life of extraordinary adventure in His global Kingdom.