Do you know how it feels when your dad wants to keep on having input into your life even though you are mature and fully capable of looking after yourself? I am a father of four kids and even though they are young, I already find it hard to allow them to make some choices and carry some responsibility. I like being the dad and I like being in control. It gives me opportunity to feel good about myself and I feel secure. Well, this is the case for us missionaries as well, especially me. We love the position we have as teachers and elders and we also get very sentimental about what we have done and are doing. We like being in control by doing our job well and it provides us with a feeling of security and accomplishment. And unfortunately pride is involved also sometimes, especially as people compliment us about who we are and what we do. But what is it that God wants? God wants us to work ourselves out of a job and this means that God wants the people from our local churches to take over all responsibilities and we need to get out of there as quickly as possible. But this is not as easy as it sounds.
Both the books of Romans and Ephesians, amongst others, teach us that God has en-gifted them all and gives the power and knowledge they need to carry on with the work. Think about Paul as an example. What length of time time did he spend training and teaching people before he moved on? This was not very long and then he purposely left them to see things through on their own. Wow, it is so different from how we do it, isn’t it. We think God really need us and everybody else does as well?
In these days we had some very good meetings with men God has gifted with the abilities to evaluate our work and progress. One of the greater challenges that came up was how can we as missionaries transition from being over the believers to becoming their partners and even to their going ahead of us and then to our getting out of here? We were challenged to evaluate what we are doing and how it contributes towards the work of planting an indigenous church. I have worked hard over the years to learn a language and write lessons and start teaching just to hear from our consultants in these days that it is already past time for our trained teachers to take over major parts of the work. In a way I feel a bit ashamed for being so proud about what I have reached and also for clinging onto my responsibilities instead of letting them go into the hands of the Mengen believers. I am scared of letting go and giving them a chance to carry the burden. Pray for us as we enter into a new phase in our church planting effort: the phase of having to start to hand over and allow people to try for themselves. Pray especially for us that we would have wisdom as we and our team mates evaluate different aspects of our ministry with the purpose of seeing God’s members in the church carrying the bulk of the burden with us.