In What Season Do You Find Yourself?
Defining how you function in your current season of assignment will clarify your message and its application and help you lead others to the destination of a promise. To describe a season, I will use the metaphor of the westward expansion of the United States during the 1800s. In that expansion, three unique assignments were present – scouts, pioneers and settlers. Each one played a critical role in the settling of the United States, and if properly understood, these unique roles have an important application for us today as we invite segments of our culture to experience a God-birthed destiny.
The westward expansion metaphor is close to my heart. Shortly after arriving in Medford, Oregon almost 20 years ago, I found out my relatives were on the first wagon train into the Rogue Valley in 1846. I discovered that information after visiting a local museum and
I am a nephew of Daniel Boone. My mother's maiden name was Boone. It was an emotional discovery to realize God had positioned me in a small town where part of my history was waiting to be discovered. I later found out I had other relatives from the Boone family buried in the historic pioneer cemetery less than a mile from our home.
As the Church explores the subject of reformation, the unique role of those early explorers takes on new meaning. We can learn a great deal from those who went before us into new and unfamiliar places. When we ask people to consider something new in God's Kingdom and invite them to make a journey with us into the unexplored landscape of a fresh revelation, this metaphor will take on a personal application.
Scouts Explore and Persuade
The journey westward in the 1800s began with scouts heading out alone to discover a previously unexplored route leading to a new frontier. Scouts, found safe passage through dangerous mountain passes and across swollen rivers. Returning from their exploratory venture, they invited people to make that same journey to pioneer a new land. Based on the intelligence the scout gathered, those who followed would experience far less jeopardy in the journey under their care and guidance.
In a spiritual context, scouts explore the expanding frontier of a fresh revelation where an apostolic blueprint is being considered. This is what John the Baptist did when he cried out from the wilderness, announcing the approaching Kingdom of God in the person of Jesus Christ. It is what Paul did when he returned from his missionary journeys and gave a report.
By the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit, scouts persuade and challenge the status quo. They extend an invitation similar to the invitation a scout would offer bands of wagons gathering in the Midwest, waiting for someone to lead them on their perilous westward journey. Scouts present pioneers with the details of an explored route and inspire those listening to entertain the risk required to move forward.
Pioneers Learn Survival Skills
The second group are the pioneers. They are the first to follow the intelligence gathered by a scout. Most wagon journeys began in the spring, allowing the pioneers to travel during the summer months. The timing was critical because pioneers would need to arrive at their destination in the early fall before the winter storms came. Once they arrived, they would only have a few weeks to construct crude cabins to survive their first winter in an untamed wilderness.
Their courage against seemingly impossible odds was stunning. I've read accounts of how their clothing and shoes had either worn out or rotted off their bodies in the journey. They learned from mountain men and indigenous people how to make clothing and moccasins from animal skins. In many cases, they lived in these garments for a year or two until traders arrived with new clothing to sell.
During the journey and upon their arrival in an untamed wilderness of a fresh revelation, spiritual pioneers must learn how to survive the first season in a fresh revelation. Everything is immediate to a pioneer. They are surrounded by on-going threats to their survival. Like the children of Israel entering the Promised Land, a place of promise is not immune from hardship. It was hard for the early pioneers in the American West and it is a challenge for present-day pioneers. Some ways of thinking we bring with us at the start of our journey will either wear out or get discarded along the way to lighten our load. Once we arrive at our destination, we need to be clothed with new ways of thinking and new methods of operation to prosper and endure.
Settlers Create Culture and Community
All revelation must mature in its application. Without that maturity, our presence will not be sustainable, and our influence will eventually die off from exposure to the harsh elements and exhaustion.
A pioneer must make a transition, becoming a settler so the future fullness of the promise can be experienced. Having survived their first winter, settlers began to build community and culture. They created social structures, government, housing, transportation, and trade. Those elements would lead to the long-term
These three unique assignments of scout, pioneer, and settler are present in any fruitful enterprise, whether it is the fulfillment of the Great Commission, starting a business, establishing a new direction for civil government or an artist exploring a new genre. There may be times when we actually move between all three of these roles as our vision or mission changes direction in the journey. The clarity of knowing in which season we are currently assigned goes a long way in helping us prosper and finish well in our Kingdom assignment
Garris Elkins and his wife, Jan, are a spiritual father and mother to many, both in the United States and abroad.
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Article reprinted by permission
Aug. 12 .2019