One of my favorite arenas of reading is any book that wrestles with the integration of spiritual formation and leadership development (or some version of those two arenas). A while back, I read David Bosch?s A Spirituality of the Road.
Listen to this from him:
Because the ambassador?s role is so crucial he has to undergo a very careful preparation. The call to be an ambassador is not enough. It therefore always amazes me that many churches and missionary agencies seem to think that the preparation of the missionary is not so terribly important. If he has received a call, that is all that matters. He should go off to the mission field as soon as possible, especially in view of the chronic shortages in personnel and the urgency of the missionary task.
Yet, from the New Testament record, one gets a different impression. After Paul?s conversion, he disappeared into Arabia, where he spent three years. We know little of that period in his life, but on the basis of the New Testament evidence we may surmise that those years were essentially years of preparation. Paul then spent a short period in Jerusalem and subsequently many more years in his home town of Tarsus.
It was only after some fifteen or more years of relative obscurity that he became the missionary we know. In fact, our Lord?s own earthly life reveals the same emphasis on preparation. He spent about thirty years in obscurity, while His public ministry lasted three years, at the most.
I often wonder whether our modern mission work would not have proved itself to be vastly different if we had laid a corresponding emphasis on preparation. I am not thinking of a theological preparation only?in Paul?s case he had already had that before his conversion!?but also of what we may call a psychological preparation or missionary formation.
(David Bosch. A Spirituality of the Road. Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers, p. 43.)
The formation I would argue for is a spiritual transformation.
To what degree is my life recommending my message?