Look around; look at people. I’m afraid that human cloning is alive in today’s society – especially in religious communities.  Consider Buddhist priests, Mormon missionaries, Muslim imams, JW’s, and even evangelical mission workers; each dresses like their peers, has the same haircuts, even the same style clothes. Within our communities we even speak the same missionese language. My goal isn’t to offend anyone, but simply bring attention.  More or less each religious worker’s training and life-style is bought off the rack.

Speaking specifically to the evangelical mission world as a business entrepreneur, the reason I write this is I cannot but help feeling a bit of disappointment. Disappointment in that we are all individuals, made in the image of God.  We are to be seeking to be transformed into His image for us, and not the image or our friends and co-workers. God’s plan, His assignment is unique and different and as such we need to conform to the image He has designed and called us to be. The conformity is frustrating to see the same thing over and over and then be told by mission agencies and church leaders “We are concerned about you!  You are unique, original!”  However, I fear most aren’t. To be original in the dictionary means “never having been done before; new; novel; inventive”. I see very few people in this category.

Why is this important? It’s important because God made us each unique in our own special way. It would be a great shame for us to all be the same, don’t you think? Yet that’s exactly what happens when everyone has the same training, the same methodologies, and the same strategies.

Someone once told me, “You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.” When it comes to missions it seems as if God’s method of preparation is more of an assembly line than something that is original – specialized for each individual.

All around us is inspiration and endless supply of material and resources. We need to live our lives full of His presence, His freedom, intoxicating the landscape, not living with borders. Let’s celebrate our uniqueness.  Let’s rejoice that a rainbow has many colors. And let’s seek to equip new workers according to their needs, gifting and assignment from God, not a predetermined fixed package of exercises.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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