14) The Backpage: When Does A New Missionary Hit Stride?

What’s your opinion? Mine varies, but in general, I’ve concluded (after doing this for about 31 years) that it takes about 5 years for one of our workers to really start understanding the turf, feeling the groove, speaking the language without pause or frustration, and, in general, producing. So — you can understand then — how my heart goes out to the worker who leaves after just 2 years. In general, he or she is leaving before the real feeling of fulfillment can set in. As a result, I’m afraid the shorter stint (2 years or so) might actually inoculate the worker *against* missions. “I tried the missions thing; I just wasn’t cut out for it.” Lord, please bring on more of the 5-year-plus workers! Your thoughts?

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2 Responses to 14) The Backpage: When Does A New Missionary Hit Stride?
  1. Suzanne Reply

    As a *non* member>not a missioary< my heart felt a tug when I read the note about New Missionaries Hitting their Stride. So often we go about our daily lives and take for granted that missonaries do not have 'burn-out' or doubt.
    To me being called to this kind of ministry is one of the most important walks of life anyone might choose.
    I know first hand how Team Expansion training is top notch. The answer must be then: prayer. For the record, the daily Prayer Tactical is the best way to pray for those who need it and those of us who can pray specifically, can do so.
    Romans 5:3-5

  2. David Reply

    I agree that two years is not enough to really hit stride in most cultures. Three years is adequate for good basic functioning in places like northern Mexico, etc. In terms of the two year period being an inoculation, it really depends on what happens on the field. If the short term missionary is consistently given the vision for where he/she fits into the bigger picture of the team’s vision, and how his/her gifts fit and are needed, I think it can serve as a great recruiting tool for long-term missions. If the two year person is treated like a work horse, or is given assignments in keeping with his scheduled time frame without it being tied into the future work of the team, or nobody is telling this persosn how much they are needed on this team, it could serve as an inoculation, or a feeling of being used by the team.

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