Seven months ago I left town and moved to a new city and in my stead I left a local leader of whom I think very highly. He is a man who is truly after the heart of the Lord in a unique way I cannot say about many other people. But he's failed pretty miserably with the things I entrusted to him.
There are a lot of reasons why he may have failed. Of the team of five I left to support him, 2 were shipped off (by their day jobs) to foreign countries for most of the year and thus were not around to help in any way. Later he too was shipped off to another part of the country for several months. That left behind people who were probably capable of leading in his absence, but were not given the freedom to lead. And there are two or three other good reasons why he hasn't succeeded in leading or growing the ministry. While not everything fell into complete shambles, he had little to do with holding it together.
Sadly the biggest reason for his failure is probably that I didn't equip him well enough. I had great intentions and he had great vision but he lacked the ability to communicate with his all-female team (among other things). He loved the ministry, but with the other male gone from his support team he was unable to move his wonderful ideas into purposeful action. And I can't help but think if I had better prepared him, he would have been fine. If I had followed up more frequently with him to see how things were doing he might have pulled everything together. At one point one of the ladies working with him called me and told me the whole thing was an absolute disaster. I then called him and asked how everything was going and he shrugged and said he thought it was doing pretty well, although he admitted he was having a hard time communicating with the women. And things have slowly disintegrated since then.
I'm pretty bummed about it to be honest because I love this man and I wanted to see him succeed at something he was passionate about.
A large part of my frustration is that I either wrongly believed he was ready or my method for turning things over was simply bad.
I'm a pretty passionate guy and I get excited about what I'm doing. I also generally believe the way I'm doing things is the best way around. I would do something different if I didn't believe in my methods. But then, once in a while, something comes along and challenges all my thinking — like my friend failing, or a book coming out with new research that calls all the old research bunk. Today what I believe may be very different or even opposed to what I believed yesterday.
But my fear that what I'm doing today, I may tomorrow consider wrong is pretty lame. Because while my job is largely strategy, my leader (God) knows I'm strategically incompetent. Even at my best, God's foolishness is wiser. But He has chosen to work through me despite my incompetence. He has chosen to do wonderful things despite my friend's failings. He has chosen to use that situation to teach me lessons about turning over leadership to locals and He is making His name known through me — a foolish man.
I rejoice that I will make mistakes, that I could do things better, and should do things better, but the Lord has grace enough for me. Jesus is the reason for my mission. Jesus is the reason for my missiology. And He is my joy in my strategy. Jesus is my joy in my successes and failures.
I do missions, and I constantly dwell on missiology because the glorification of the name of Jesus is my goal, and His patience and willingness to work with and through me is my joy.