We live in unique times and I believe God has called us to have the mindset of a pioneer. In many ways, we have lost our way as God’s people and the Lord wants to get us back on track. What will it take? I believe the Lord wants to ignite in us the mindset of a pioneer. God placed you and me in this hour in history, to point people to Jesus and make an impact in this generation.
I believe there are seven characteristics of a pioneer spirit that God wants us to know today. Being a pioneer takes courage. As agents of change, pioneers must take the lead and prepare the way for others to follow. God’s word tells us not to be conformed to our culture (Romans 12:1-2), but to change it by being salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14)
#2 - Pioneers are people of uncommon commitment: They are committed to doing the right thing out of a sense of honor and duty. President Ronald Reagan stood his ground when multiple staff members urged him to remove the line from his speech that has become famous: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Doing the right thing isn’t usually complicated, but it may cost you something.
“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier... And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2Tim. 2:4, 2:2).
#3 - Pioneers realize no price is too great to pay. Most of the 12 disciples and many leaders in the early church were martyred for their faith as they persisted to preach the gospel far and wide. They paid the ultimate price for following Christ. We probably will not be called to make that kind of sacrifice, but we may. Look at the believers in Afghanistan at the moment. Pioneers must be willing to lose everything for Christ if need be!
William Wilberforce worked for four decades to abolish the slave trade in the British empire. His work cost him many things: his health, many sleepless nights the ridicule of his peers, and the consternation of the people that were profiting from the slave-trade. It was just days before his death that he saw his work pay off and the vote was cast to end slavery passed.
#4 - Pioneers possess the heart of a warrior. Like David’s mighty men in the Bible, so we must have the heart of a warrior. mighty warriors are men like Benaiah and Eleazar. Pioneers may not need to fight physically, but they must battle against the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12) through prayer and by speaking out within the culture when the times require it. You cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. We must stand up and take action for God, whatever it requires!
“Beniah... He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day” (2Sam. 23:20).
“And David said with longing, ‘Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!’ So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, ‘far be it from me, O Lord, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. (2Sam. 23:15-17).
#5 - Pioneers are willing to go into the unknown. Jesus said, “Go!” He didn’t say “Be comfortable”. Many churches have settled into routines and are unwilling to take risks or venture into uncharted areas; Yet, the Great Commission instructs us to go into the entire world. When God’s mission statement is no longer our mission statement, something is wrong. Pioneers must no fear of the unknown!
Luke chapter 14 is perhaps one of my favorite chapters when it comes to talking about the cost of following Jesus. Someone once said, Salvation is free, but it will cost you everything! The parable of the Great Supper goes into more detail as different ones gave reasons why they couldn’t attend.
One said, “I bought a piece of ground”, Another – “I bought five yoke of oxen”. Still another, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come!” (Luke 14:17-20)
#6 - Pioneers have extreme passion. People may tell you; you need to be less intense! But our response should be – You need to break out of your lethargy! Where are the David’s of our day who run to the giants, and when they worship, they fling off their outer garments like David did and make a fool of themselves? Where are the Apostle Paul’s of today, who say the love of God compels me–I have no choice?
#7 - Pioneers are willing to fight for a cause bigger than themselves. If your personal wants and needs in life are more important than the cause God has called you to accomplish, you will never be a pioneer. Pioneers must be solely devoted to Christ and advancing His kingdom. They are not satisfied with the status quo; they long to make a difference and are willing to invest their entire lives to do it. Like David said when facing Goliath – Is there not a cause? I believe there is today, and I want to encourage you to ask God to give you a pioneer spirit in this season!