In hundreds of conversations we have identified six "challenges" our generations face when considering ministry in a missions-related role. The six are: Faith, Finances, Family, Fit, Future and Fight. The purpose of examining these challenges is to help us see that God is really carefully managing our journey and not getting in the way of a desired goal with all these obstacles.
FIT: the fourth "challenge," "obstacle," or "opportunity," depending on your perspective.
If you are a Baby Boomer who has spent the majority of your life up to now working in positions not usually referred to as "ministry" roles, it could be that the best years of your life are still ahead of you! That's because the methods by which we carry the love and testimony of Jesus are growing more broadly every day.
When we hear the words "missions" or "missionary" most of us immediately think of definitions mainly coming from our younger years. These were people who had Bible training and church ministry experience and were dedicated to full-time ministry somewhere overseas. So when someone talks to us about a "missions" or "ministry" role in our latter years, we logically wonder how we might "fit." Our education, training and work experience are nothing like what we think of for a full-time ministry role.
But that is all changing! If you are sensing a discontent with how you are currently investing your life and wondering if there might be something more, it may be that God is about to open the door to a whole new phase of significance for you. If that is true, you can rest assured that the training and experience you have developed to this point has been designed by God to prepare you for the next phase. Even though you may not see any direct correlation between the work you have done in the past and a new ministry role, know this: what we are doing at any given time always has two purposes. The obvious first purpose is to accomplish what we are responsible for right now - our work tasks, our family responsibilities, relationships, etc. The second purpose is that we are preparing for the next phase of our life. We usually do not know what that next phase will entail, but we can trust that God is using present circumstances to prepare us for future needs.
Aligned with this essential principle are the wonderful new ways God is opening doors for his gospel to penetrate this world. The future of the North American contribution to expand God's kingdom worldwide will look somewhat similar to the first century church. When the persecution began in Jerusalem, Christ-followers left that city and moved to other locations where they had job possibilities or family. Once there, they naturally talked about the impact Jesus had made in their lives. The result was the expanding of God's kingdom. A similar thing is happening today, and it may be that God has been preparing you for just such a time as this.
A future change for you may not be because of persecution, but the training and work experience you have developed over the years may be what will open the door for you to move to another area, and while there, you can naturally talk about the impact Jesus has had in your life. So when we think of "missions," "missionary," and "ministry", we are now thinking of a new paradigm. We are thinking of people who will find a "fit" because of their skills and training, and that new fit will enable them to make a difference for Jesus! Could that be you?
If you have not already done so, may I suggest you fill out your Service Profile here on our website at www.finishers.org/index.php?id=5. Our unique "matching" software will connect you with ministry opportunities that are in line with the interests you indicate in your profile. The myriad of mission agencies who partner with us have thousands of positions both here in the U.S. and abroad. As you fill out your Service Profile, pray that God will use this tool to open doors for you. If you have already submitted a profile, I encourage you to take a fresh look at it and make any modifications based on your changing circumstances. Perhaps a new "fit" is waiting for you.
Additionally, Finishers has developed a high-quality weekend resource called the Finishers Forum. The content is designed to answer the questions commonly raised by mid-life adults who are considering how to invest their lives for greater impact. Alongside the exciting seminar content there are two significant features of every Finishers Forum. Nearly one-third of the time is dedicated to allowing participants to interact face-to-face with leaders of local and global ministries, talking about possible "fits." And, for the four large-group sessions, participants are seated at round tables, allowing for interaction with others on the same journey. See our Events page for information on scheduled Forums.
Finishers Project 2010