‘Successful’ missions are the ones with the most measurable results. Right? Some people think so. Maybe ‘successful’ missions employ the most eloquent preachers. Some preachers think so. ‘Successful’ missions could be the ones that cost the least amount of money. Some finance committee members think so. However, our answer is not the one that matters most!
God’s answer is the one that matters and there are many places we can see it. Look at the beginning of Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13-2). God instructs the Church to set aside Barnabas and Saul to the ‘work to which I have called them.’
Now, look at the beginning of Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 15:36). Paul said to Barnabas….. The very next thing is an argument over John Mark. It is so sharp Paul and Barnabas go their separate ways. Paul goes, Barnabas goes, but we read nothing of significance until God sends Paul a vision. We know it as the Macedonian vision and that is when things really begin to happen in the second missionary journey.
The most important part of missions is the beginning. If it started with, ‘And God said…,” then results, preaching, and financing will all be fine. If the mission starts with, ‘You said,’ or ‘I said,’ then problems are likely to follow.
God reveals what He wants, then we respond in faith. This revelation/response pattern is seen all through Scripture. We should not bring our mission to God then ask Him, or expect Him, to bless it. Many people still try that. Don’t be one of them! Missions that begin with God are the important ones and faith is required to see them through. It couldn’t be any other way because without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Think about it!