When an individual Christian or a local church wades in to The Mission Stream, its flow moves them into a deeper and wider section of the course that it follows to its ultimate destination.
This deeper and wider section was designed by the Missionary God to help them discover and then begin serving in the role that He assigns to them.
As they transition from that section into a more narrow and more forceful segment of the stream, they move forward with excitement and confidence, convinced that the role He has given–and they have joyfully received, will make a significant contribution towards His end-game plans.
And yet, in the same way that riding in the flow of an actual stream inevitably exposes a person to rapids and other dangers from above and below the surface, so the church and individuals who intentionally move forward in The Mission Stream will be exposed to a variety of hazards that can distract, or even derail them from the place in His plans that they know God has called them to.
Although there are many more hazards than what are listed here, prior knowledge about some of the potential dangers found in the rapids segment of The Mission Stream will help churches and individuals be prepared to respond rightly and navigate successfully.
FOR THE CHURCH THAT IS PREPARING TO SEND ONE OF THEIR OWN
The church that begins the process of sending one of their own, should be prepared for one or more of the following obstacles to pop up:
–Members that question why the church is so concerned about people over there, when there are still people that don’t know Jesus right here, and there is so much need in their own community and country
–Balancing the financial commitments to both global missions and the needs of the church itself in its local context.
–A change of church leadership
–A building program
–A decrease in general or missions-specific giving
FOR THE INDIVIDUAL CALLED TO GO TO THE MISSION FIELD
The individual who has responded to God’s call to go to the mission field and is moving toward a departure date will likely encounter one or more of these impediments:
–Critique or even outright resistance from family members
–Challenge and/or discouragement from fellow believers they know and love
–Health related issues for themselves, their family members who are going with them, or health-related issues within their larger family
–Potential health-related threats in the country where they are planning to live and serve
–Political or social changes or unrest in the country where they plan on living and serving
FOR THE INDIVIDUAL CALLED TO SEND AND CARE FOR THOSE WHO GO
The individual or group of individuals that have obeyed God’s call to send and care for those who are called to go must be prepared to overcome one or more these obstructions:
–Increased competition for their time and attention from their day-to- day life activities
–Spontaneous or increased ongoing needs of in the lives of people that they have face to face interaction with–like family members, fellow church members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
–Social media, recreation, hobbies, and even church activities that seem to take on a much greater drawing power when a person commits to sending and caring for missionaries
AND YES, WE DO HAVE AN ENEMY
The bottom-line is that any follower of Jesus or local church that enters The Mission Stream and begins moving intentionally towards bringing God’s glory to the whole world, will encounter road blocks like never before–some of them just life-generated, but some of them thrown in to the stream by the enemy of God’s glory and our souls.
But this reality shouldn’t keep us from being about our Missionary God’s business, since we know how things ultimately turn out and we receive the blessing of knowing that He’s let us a play an important role in the fulfilment of His global purposes.