Good Ways to Decide, Part 1: Because You Can

Last week we said the Gideon tests sound spiritual but often just reflect a misplaced desire for clarity that God doesn’t owe us.

So, what are some good things to decide if you should go on an OYC?

One of the best reasons to go is also one of the simplest: because you can.

Many, many disciples simply cannot go on an OYC. Think of all the circumstances that might prevent disciples from going:

  1. Some need support groups for chemical addiction recovery or same-sex attraction.
  2. Some are under the care of a therapist they should stick with for now, or need to take specialized treatments for mental or physical health problems.
  3. Some have special needs children.
  4. Some have boyfriends or girlfriends who can’t go on an OYC.
  5. Some are caring for elderly parents.
  6. Some are so deeply in debt they could not maintain payments if they went to an OYC site.
  7. Some are in the military or a program of study. Leaving in the middle of these situations would be unwise, so for now at least, an OYC is off the table.
  8. Some would go if they could, but can’t get a visa because of their nationality. For example, it’s much harder for a Russian passport holder to get a work visa in most countries than it is for a Canadian passport holder, unfortunately.
  9. Some are willing to go, but too old or too young to relocate.

You get the picture. Take all these people out of the pool of potential “go-ers”–they need to be stayers for now!–and how many are left?

Are you one of those remaining people who can go? Then, by itself, that’s a great reason to go!

What We’re Reading Today

From Steve Rundle and Tom Steffen’s Great Commission Companies:

Using business as a vehicle for missions and ministry is not new. The apostle Paul, for example, was a full-time leather worker during much of his missionary career. A study of his letters reveals that working was more than a way to support himself; it was a central part of his missionary strategy. Preaching the gospel for free added credibility to his message and served as a model for his converts to follow.

One Year Challenge Re-Branding As “One Year Vacation”

The ICOC Campus Service Team announced today that it’s revamping the One Year Challenge program. The new program will now be called “One Year Vacation,” or OYV for short.

Organizers decided the word challenge was off-putting and too demanding. One member of the campus service team told us, off the record, that many young disciples felt pressure from reading the OYC blog.

Hopefully, many of the disciples who felt like it was God’s will for them to not go overboard with the whole ‘deny themselves’ thing will realize they don’t actually have to sacrifice to participate in world evangelism.

The locations considered most challenging–Haiti, China and especially Norman, Oklahoma–have been replaced by sites in Tahiti, San Francisco and Las Vegas. However, the OYC site in Maui, Hawaii was allowed to remain in the new OYV program.

“Hopefully, many of the disciples who felt like it was God’s will for them to not go overboard with the whole ‘deny themselves’ thing will realize they don’t actually have to sacrifice to participate in world evangelism,” said Falsum Magister, one of the One Year Challenge coordinators.

As a part of the re-branding effort, the new OYV program announced it will even pay for airline tickets, luxury hotel accommodation and daily all-you-can-eat buffets for disciples who register for a One Year Vacation. The offer is valid today only.

The Gideon Test Is A Bad Way To Decide

“Putting out a fleece” is a Christian code language for “I’ll see if circumstances confirm God wants me to do this or that.” If you’re not sure where this idea comes from, the story is in Judges 6-8.

A lot of people considering an OYC use this kind of language when describing how they are going to make a decision:

  1. “I’m going to apply for a job and see if God opens a door for me there. If He doesn’t, I’ll just know God doesn’t want me to go.”
  2. “I’m waiting to find out if I got approved for a new home loan, but if it doesn’t go through, I am going to take that as a sign from God to just go on an OYC.”
  3. “I’ve been praying that God will make it really clear to me whether or not I should go.”

All these statements reflect something positive: a desire to be convinced of what God’s specific will is for my decision through some visible sign.

The problem is these statements also tragically leave out faith in God’s care. They can just as easily be expressed as:

  1. “If God makes it really easy for me to go by giving me an great job in advance, I’ll go. Otherwise, I’m not taking any risks.”
  2. “If I can come up with some good reason not to go, and reasonably attribute it to God, I’m off the hook.”
  3. “I’m not going anywhere until God satisfies my need for certainty.”

Step out on faith. Don’t require God to grease the skids to get you moving. Put your trust in God, not in “confirming” circumstances.