This is an article from the January-February 2007 issue: God’s Patchwork Quilt



Dear Reader,
Are you a student? Are you (or were you) at “Urbana-St. Louis” in December? Or are you just wondering if your life is really in God’s hands? Are you finding your way into God’s highest call for you?

These are the most important questions for every believer. There’s no use talking about being a follower of Christ if we cannot (really) say, “I am doing My Utmost for His Highest” (as Oswald Chambers’ book title puts it).

However, life is not ideal. We usually have to accept lots of things that are second-best while we work our way into things of higher interest to God. This is especially true for students; they cannot usually “vault” into high effectiveness the day they graduate.

This is even more true for young women, who have to move ahead sensibly as though they will never marry and yet be prepared to tie in, perhaps, with another person who may be going in a different direction. That’s our society.

Discovering and doing the will of God is a complexity. Is there a good recipe? Consider these typical options placed before us:

  1. Be really “all out” – be a field missionary or a mission-minded pastor.
  2. Do a job that is crucial to God’s Kingdom, like working on the staff of the William Carey Library, which funnels 80,000 mission books a year into the hands of highly-motivated people.
  3. Do a job that is crucial to Kingdom concerns and thereby glorify God, like working to eliminate malaria and its mammoth and gruesome impact on the peoples of Africa and other regions.
  4. Do an honorable job that simply contributes to the workings of society (i.e., not stuff like making Beanie Babies or “dealing” in a casino).

There Is Another Way

But here is another way of looking at things. You have to work for a living. You have to do something which someone will pay for. Either that or you subsist from the fruits of your own little plot of land – and do little more than save yourself.

Category 1: Most jobs provide goods or services to people (customers) who are willing to pay. This is the primary sphere of “business,” where many good things are accomplished by honest, effective activity.

Category 2: However, many jobs are funded “from behind.” That is, some foundation, some tax base, or some set of donors is willing to pay you to deal with an urgent problem or provide a service to someone else (who does not pay).

Mission agencies fall into the latter category. Much of what they do blesses people who can’t pay for the products or services they receive.

Could everything that needs to be done in this world be done with a business approach? Almost. But many highly strategic needs require funding “from behind.” You can’t make “a business” out of rescuing child prostitutes in Thailand, or by setting up medical clinics in the midst of extreme poverty around the world.

But, you say, what can a mere individual do? Frankly, very little, unless you join a team of others who are already working together. Choosing that team is as delicate and crucial a question as choosing whom to marry, even if it’s not as permanent a decision.

Or you can start a team. This rarely works unless the team-starter has already worked in some existing team, gaining necessary experience and respect. Even then, few new starts succeed. And it takes time – a lot of time – to create a stable, new organization. However, it is both true and startling that setting out to build a team from scratch around some unsolved problem is one of the things that is most urgently needed.

Along this line, how can you sum up the efforts of a hundred families working together in the Frontier Mission Fellowship, the U. S. Center for World Mission, and William Carey International University – in various centers around the USA and in other countries? It’s easy: we’re working on 24 problems and are challenging 12 “frontiers in mission” which relate to those 24 problems. (See page 24 of this issue of Mission Frontiers.) We urgently need full-time help. We also need thousands of people who can give part-time assistance, often right where they already live. (To learn more about this opportunity for part-time assistance, write to [email protected]. Also, after March 1 check with [email protected] about internship programs we offer in 2007-2008.)

The problems needing solutions range from simple to complex, from easy to hard, from small to big. We need people for whom “making a living” is not their central concern. We need people whose hearts have room for things about which God is concerned on a global level.

You also can take a good look at some of our departments portrayed on page 25. God has given us a multi-million-dollar campus, and many highly-competent and dedicated families. We have 30 years of growth behind us. Our Perspectives course attracts over 8,000 new students a year at 180 sites. We provide 80,000 books a year. This bulletin goes to 80,000 people all over the world (and we certainly need more help staffing it). And we offer more besides. Yes, we have lots of things in which you may find deep fulfillment.

But you don’t have to join us. There are many other outstanding “teams” you can join, even if they may not (as we do) seek members who cannot come and work full-time.

Some Ideas to Consider

In any case, your future in the hands of God is neither magical nor simple. Homework is necessary. As one of our Perspectives brochures declared years ago, “God cannot lead you on the basis of facts you do not have.” Here are some ideas:

  1. Be sure you enroll in the Perspectives course, for this will empower you as a “World Christian.” See pages 6-7 to learn about classes offered in North America in spring 2007.
  2. Try out a month with the Global Prayer Digest. (Request a sample issue by sending an e-mail request to [email protected]. Or check it out online at The GPD can transform you into a daily World Christian. Daily awareness is a big step forward, for, as we have often repeated, “Nothing that does not occur daily will ever dominate your life.”
  3. Be alert to regional meetings of Perspectives alumni. Get there: these are good occasions to connect with like-minded believers – and maybe discover the person you’ll marry!
  4. Plan to attend the annual meeting of the International Society of Frontier Missiology (
  5. Subscribe to the International Journal of Frontier Missiology, which provides far more details about mission than our Mission Frontiers bulletin. Check out, and subscribe at [email protected].
  6. Read other key mission books and periodicals. Peruse, and check out
  7. Be sure you regularly contribute to the financial support of a missionary or mission mobilizer. (Look at as one good resource.)
  8. Carefully read the “Join the World Christian Movement” chapter in the Perspectives Reader (pp. 718-723).
  9. Most of all, think of missions as a cause, not a career. Concern yourself with the cause of missions, and your career will take care of itself.
  10. Is that enough to get you started?


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