Years ago, when Jan and I ventured out to start our first church, those who sent us described church planters like us as people who would “pioneer a new church”. That phrase is not used very much in church planting circles today, but remains accurate in describing our assignment. We packed up all our belongings, along with our two young children and a cat, and drove into an unknown future filled only with a promise from God. This is the nature of a pioneer.
In the settling of the American West those who rode in wagons and walked alongside them towards the hope of a new beginning in a new land were called pioneers. The dictionary definition of a pioneer is, “one who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory”. This definition has a larger application than just historic pioneers or present day church planters. This is a reality for each life that steps away from what is known to travel into the unknown expanse of an unexplored future.
You may find yourself at the end of a known season. What lies before you is an unexplored landscape that only contains a promise from God of something that is not yet seen. A pioneer can see this invisible place with the eyes of faith.
You can stay where you are, but you will always live with the lingering question, “What would have happened if we had made the journey?” If this is where you find yourself, ask God to give you the heart of a pioneer. You will know when this happens because the hope of the promise will have overshadowed the doubt of your departure and you will find yourself packing with expectancy for a new adventure experienced only by those who have the heart of a pioneer.