This is an article from the July-September 1999 issue: Winds of Renewal

Wanted: Trail Guides

Wanted: Trail Guides

The experience of many students finishing college today is similar to arriving at the edge of a cliff. Looking down into the chasm and up to the nice field on the other side, the student becomes solemn.

The familiar path of life (some 17 years of schooling) is abruptly over and now the student isn't sure where to step next. Even those with a life goal or sense of destiny are shaken by the deep, dark chasm that stretches between them and where they want to be.

There are so many decisions, so much unknown territory. They need someone to point out the bridge and hold their hand as they make the transition from student to career.

It is difficult to all of a sudden "be" a missionary. For most people it is not a clear jump but rather a series of events and activities in life. They need someone to show them how to climb, step by step, over to the other side.

Where are the people who will put aside professional agendas and be trail guides for this generation? To many mission-minded students who flip through a mission handbook or get bug-eyed walking through the many booths at a mission conference, it seems that there are many good-meaning people, recruiters, calling to them, but all from the other side of the chasm. They are all asking students to jump to their plateau, and then they will congratulate and assist them. But, "jump!" is no easy task. And from the students' safe precipice, can you blame them for asking, "Why bother taking that risk?"

Could this be why so many, after coming all the way to the edge of mission commitment, turn back? Could it be that many more would cross over into the Great Commission lifestyle if only the recruiters were not so far away? Does it have to be a dark, scary chasm, or have we unnecessarily made it that way?
Who will guide those pondering the jump? Shouldn't the ministers that raised the student coach them all along as to what to do when they get to this point? Wouldn't it be great if the students' pastor (teacher, church, campus minister) and the recruiters acted as if they were on the same team? Shouldn't the recruiters be trail guides instead?

Just think about it: someone who would take the time to get to know the individual, someone who could help the student discern God's call on their life, someone who could answer questions and unbiasedly recommend agencies and materials.

Is a paradigm shift needed? Yes. Is it possible? Of course.

Where are the people who will put aside professional agendas and be trail guides for this generation?


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