Some time ago I talked to 29 missionary candidates. They were graduates of universities or Bible schools or seminaries. As a member of the board, I interviewed each one over a period of five days, giving each candidate from half an hour to an hour.
Among the questions I asked were two that are very important. The first one had to do with their devotional life. “How is your devotional life?” I asked them. “How is the time you spend with the Lord? Do you feel that your devotional life is what the Lord would have it to be?”
Out of this particular group of 29, only one person said, “I believe my devotional life is what it ought to be.” To the others my question then was, “Why is your devotional life not what it should be?”
“Well, you see, I am here at this summer institute,” was a common reply. “We have a concentrated course. We do a year’s work in only 10 weeks. We are so busy.”
I said, “All right. Let’s back up to when you were in college. Did you have victory in your devotional life then?”
“Well, not exactly.”
The other question I asked them was: “You are going out to the foreign field. You hope to be used by the Lord in winning men and women to Christ. Is that right?”
“You want them to go on and live the victorious life, don’t you? You don’t want them just to make a decision and then go back into the world, do you? Then may I ask you some-thing more? How many persons do you know by name today who were won to Christ by you and are living for Him?”
The majority had to admit that they were ready to cross an ocean and learn a foreign language, but they had not won their first soul who was going on with Jesus Christ. A number of them said that they got many people to go to church; others said they had persuaded some to go forward when the invitation was given.
I asked, “Are they living for Christ now?”
Their eyes dropped. I then continued, “How do you expect that by crossing an ocean and speaking in a foreign language with people who are suspicious of you, whose way of life is unfamiliar, you will be able to do there what you have not yet done here?”
We traced back and found that never since they came to know the Savior had they had a period of victory in their devotional lives. That was one of the reasons for their sterility—lack of communion with Christ.
These questions do not apply to missionaries and prospective missionaries only. They apply to all of God’s people. Every one of His children ought to be a reproducer.
-Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators
(This article appeared in the May 2014 edition of Decision magazine.)