Did you know that missionaries sometimes struggle to agree? Recently we lived through a situation with some teammates where we were charged with not “sharing in the vision” when we chose to offer some words of caution regarding a project they are pursuing. Working on a team has huge benefits and I cannot imagine working alone. Nor do I think that God wants us to do it alone. However, it also has its challenges. We are all sinful, selfish people. Being in full-time ministry does not suddenly make us wiser or more able to discern God’s will in a particular situation. Like any other believer, we are driven to seek God’s will through His Word, prayer, and yes – the counsel of our teammates.
So what happens when teammates on the mission field don’t agree? What do you say when a colleague’s personal project is presented as a vision given him/her by God? Who am I to argue with that? Yet what if there are things I see as potentially harmful to our collective ministry? Do I voice my thoughts or simply keep silent? What happens when I am targeted for voicing a differing view?
In our Sunday School class, we have just recently finished the study of the book of Habakkuk. One of the things that most stands out to me from this study is the fact that Habakkuk begins the book by questioning God’s justice, then how God chose to enforce such justice. Yet by the end of the book, Habakkuk gives himself over to the will of God, regardless of what that may be:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
Being on a ministry team means I need to be constantly seeking God’s will, while listening to what God may be saying through my teammates as well. It often means yielding my desires to the consensus of the team. It ultimately means believing God is good and rejoicing in His salvation even when I don’t understand where I’m going. I thank God for my team and pray that He uses us to build into each other’s lives, sharpen each other, and encourage each other. Together may we glorify Him.