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Historically we have focused on sending vocational missionaries all over the world; however, this pathway to the field has a long incubation period. By the time the potential missionary identifies an agency to go with, is assessed and approved, decides on a place and role, and raises support, he or she has often taken up to two years in order to take off. Picture this process like planes taxying around, waiting for their turn on a long, congested runway.
But if we start emphasizing marketplace workers, students, and retirees, we may not have as much notice to prepare them to go. The company that may be hiring them, for instance, will not wait two years for them to go through our missionary development programs. Therefore mission readiness should be a normal part of discipleship, so that when a sense a calling comes and a job opportunity arises, they are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Picture this readiness like a helicopter that can take off from the helipad it is already resting on.