When I was doing pre-field deputation for OMF back in the late 1980s, I often attended meetings with other candidates and the then OMF USA Northwest Regional Director, Alex Smith. Alex frequently encouraged young missionaries and church members to be ready for action to preach the gospel. But since simply being ready isn’t enough, he wisely advised that all missionaries should foster the attribute of sticktoitiveness. No doubt, he was aware of just how hard it is to live in a different culture and learn a new language to communicate spiritual truths that can impact one’s eternal destiny. To make a lasting difference in this context, one needs sticktoitiveness.
This long, composite word is often traced to late nineteenth-century America where Thomas Edison was reputed to have said, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” And indeed, when it comes to mission, one cannot downplay the need for hard work, perseverance—for that’s what sticktoitivenss is—and common sense. But even more, we must align these things with an intimate knowledge of God, an ability to communicate his word accurately, and a desire to see others—some of whom may be antagonistic toward all things Christian—become active and growing members of God’s family.
This issue of Mission Round Table is designed to help us stick to the job of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others. The articles here all emerge from the life stories of our writers who have stuck with the task and who provide us with tools so we can stick with it too.
Walter McConnell, Editor