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Your missions opportunity disappeared. Now what?

by Mark Silvers
in Blog, Mark Silvers
3 things to commit to beyond an opportunity

A few years ago a young man left America to teach English in Thailand, only to find out after he arrived that his teaching contract had fizzled out. The position he had gone to fill didn’t exist. The opportunity he committed to had disappeared.

I spoke to him on the phone shortly after he got the news.

“I assume you’ll return home then?” I asked, disappointed. “After all, hasn’t your purpose for being in country just gone out the door?”

That’s the attitude I’d heard from many workers in similar predicaments, and I expected him to respond the same way. It would have been an easy out.

Instead, he said, “Have people in Thailand stopped needing Christ? If not, then I’ll figure out how to stay. I’m not going home.”

When you’re thinking about uprooting your life to move to a foreign country, it’s natural to want details in place. But when you factor in the preparation it takes to go and thrive, it could be months or even years before you arrive on the ground. Most likely some of the details you committed to will have changed.

The what and where of your ministry may look radically different than you expected. Don’t let that trip you up. Mission opportunities come and go. But the opportunity — the invitation to obey Christ and introduce unreached people to the Savior — isn’t going anywhere.

Here are three things to commit to beyond a specific job opportunity.

1. Commit to a cause.

The young man in Thailand had committed to a teaching position, but it wasn’t that specific job that led him halfway around the world. It was his commitment to bringing God’s love to life among the least-reached.

More than committing to a position, he had committed to providing a quality English education, with which his students could get a good job and escape poverty and oppression. He had committed to using his position, whatever it might be, to introduce students, teachers, and families to Christ.

What impact do you want to make? Find your why and keep that cause in view when the details start to get blurry.

2. Commit to a people.

Has God called you to the people of Thailand? Or Senegal? Or France? When one method of ministry doesn’t pan out, try something else. If there are still people without Christ in that country, there’s still work to be done.

The commitment to Christ and His cause is more important than the location where you do the work. Just like with the opportunity, it’s important to hold your location with an open hand in case God calls you elsewhere. (Sometimes He does that by simply closing doors to an opportunity you thought was the one.) But we know that God doesn’t give up on any nation, any people. So we shouldn’t be quick to either.

3. Commit to a community.

Research shows you need a community behind you to be effective cross-culturally. The truth is you need more than a mission agency — you also need a formative community on the ground.

They’ll remind you of the why. They’ll help you find a new what or where when you need it. And they’ll help you see you’re not alone but you’re part of a team that needs what you have to offer. 

It’s been several years since I had that conversation with the young worker in Thailand. He’s still in Thailand today … with a thriving ministry and a huge impact among the least-reached.

By all means, look for a specific place to use your skills and passions. (That’s why God gave them to you!) But trust that His plan for you and for the nations is greater than any one opportunity. Commit to Him, and keep moving forward.

The journey to the nations usually has some twists and turns. We’re here to walk with you every step of the way. Connect with us.

Mark Silvers, Crossworld Director of MobilizationMark Silvers served with Crossworld in the Philippines for 10 years and joined the home office staff as Director of Recruitment in 2009. Mark’s driving passion is to reach the 3.2 billion people in the world today with no access to the gospel.

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