If you could start over what would you do differently about your preparation and all that has brought you to where you are right now?
Where to begin? If I could go back in time and speak to a younger me I would tell myself first of all to read more. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader” is a quote I heard once. One can never read to many books. No matter where your location of ministry, foreign or domestic, everyone in ministry should read. I have a substantial library and I love to read, but I would read more. Reading is one of the keys to success.
I would try and do an internship with a trusted missionary. This is one thing that I really wish I had done when I was younger. Being in a different culture is always a good experience and witnessing ministry being done in another culture is something every Pastor should see. Along this line I would have taken a missions trip sooner. I didn’t go out of the country until I was 32, and it definitely changed my life. I was recently in a church where a man (who has three nephews that are missionaries) said he believes everyone in church should go on a mission trip but that it should be a requirement for every pastor and deacon.
I would have started younger. If I had known that eventually I would wind up on the mission field I would have probably have started out a lot sooner. Things are much, much easier to do when you are younger. Now every new thing that I do, it is not just me that’s doing it but my wife and five children. Everything is more difficult with a family of seven as compared to being single, a newly wed couple, or a young couple with a small child.
A mentor would have been found sooner. This is the big reason I wanted to go with Vision Baptist Missions, because I knew they wouldn’t just help you get to the field but they would help you succeed on the field through their mentoring. Every young preacher needs a mentor. Timothy had Paul, and Mark had Barnabas.
This is post is part 5 in the series “Answering Vision” and is taken from the panel discussion questions from the missions conference at Vision Baptist Church you can read part 4 here.