Are you a trailblazer?
Or are you someone who prefers to know what you’re up for in advance? Someone who likes it when a buddy goes on ahead to scout out the lie of the land? Some of us are pioneering types, pathfinders, who relish the challenges of blazing a trail. Both are needed in the big adventure of following Christ to work cross-culturally.
When Canadians Walter Gowans and Rowland Bingham went with their American friend Thomas Kent to West Africa in 1893, they had a vision to set up a base far inland, and many thought it couldn’t be done. When Tim and Sandra went to Myanmar a few years ago, they too were pioneers, going into a previously closed land to minister to a people group known for having little tolerance of those from other faiths. (Read more about Tim and Sandra here.)
Psychology has quite a bit to say about such people: they usually have a vision that guides them and provides the impetus and resilience to go outside their comfort zone and not give up. Trailblazers persevere in the face of uncertain success. Also, they are good at spotting patterns and “connecting the dots” when observing various situations.
The old idea of different personalities, such as the 16 Myers-Briggs categories, has largely been debunked in social psychology, with practitioners disputing whether personality types even exist. But a new study, based on huge sets of personality data representing 1.5 million people, concludes that maybe distinct personalities exist, after all, centering on traits – conscientiousness or extroversion, for example. We can be sure in psychology, the debate will continue. In missions, innovation and trailblazing definitely have a place, as people go into new areas of ministry, come up against obstacles and meet them with a mixture of creativity and prayer. They are not put out by failing to meet a challenge, but rather learn from the experience and pray some more. They are resilient, sometimes unconventional, always totally reliant on the Holy Spirit for guidance, because in the situations where they find themselves this is a daily imperative.
There’s room for all kinds of people in SIM, as we follow God’s call to bring the good news where Jesus is not known. Maybe you are the sort of person who already follows the road less travelled; who likes learning new cultures and adapts well to change. SIM is looking for people to join the team in Myanmar. We are also looking for people to serve in the Middle East – another new region for us. Whatever your gut instinct when it comes to trailblazing, we welcome you to talk to us, and see where in the world God may be leading you.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to have a conversation!