With the holiday season over I am now making my plans to return to Colombia in about ten days. It has been a great fall and winter as I have had the opportunity to visit many of our supporting churches and thank a good number of you in person. We appreciate so much the fact that you have partnered with us in the Lord’s work in Colombia. We are truly blessed.
But along with my travels and visits to supporting churches, I also taught for the fall semester at Kentucky Christian University and the professor of missions/intercultural studies. That made for a grueling schedule as I traveled each weekend then taught full time at the university Monday through Friday. Some have commented on how hard that must have been and it certainly was demanding.
However, Paul was clear in his instructions to Timothy that part of the missionary ministry involves dedicating time to training up the next generation of missionaries. In II Timothy 2:2 he instructs his understudy to “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Since Timothy was faithful to those instructions, there has been an un broken chain of new missionaries going out in each and every generation. My wife and I are heirs to that rich legacy.
I have always worked in teaching new leaders. That has been a priority in Colombia and on three previous occasions I have served as missions professor and missionary-in-residence at Christian universities here in the States. Now, as I am aging and feeling an even greater urgency to do that. Fully 95% of all new missionaries going out will fail and return home within four years. They are dedicated and hard working individuals who left with every intention of doing the work of a missionary for an extended period of time.
The fault of their failure is shared. Churches who support and send out missionaries with no training are a primary cause of this failure. It would never occur to us to send out a young person to be a physician without expecting him or her to seek adequate training for the job we expect him or her to do. Yet that is exactly what we do for missionary recruits. The Bible colleges fail to even offer such training in many cases. And finally, the committed young recruits are so anxious to be on the field they do not seek the training that is a prerequisite for success.
For that reason, I take time off from the work in Colombia to serve as a teacher for future generations of missionaries and that is what I was doing at KCU. Still, at times, I wondered if it was worth the effort. I ended the fall exhausted from the demanding schedule. As classes ended, one of my students sent me the following note:
Hi Professor Meade! I just wanted to let you know how incredibly thankful and blessed I was, and am, for being your student for a semester, and I’m sorry I never took more time to let you know. I was so encouraged, challenged, and taught so much by the Lord through you, and I cannot express how thankful I am. I know I’m going to miss having you as my teacher at KCU, and as a friend too. But I know God is using you to help others and in many other numerous ways I can’t possibly fathom. I wish and pray for the best for you and your ministry, and I look forward to seeing you again, whenever that may be. Until then, I’m thankful to have Facebook Thank you, again, for everything, and for being such a great example of a godly man and teacher. It helps more than you know!
Yes, it was worth it! And Lord willing, I will do the same again in the future if the Lord opens that door!