This morning Billy Joe, and I had such a sweet experience with the Lord. I was reading Dutch Sheet’s new book, The Way Back, which starts with the song, ”Pioneer” by Nancy Honeytree Miller. As we listened to this song several times it touched my heart as deeply today as it did when it was recorded in 1993, and has become the theme song of our ministry over the years.
You see, I married a pioneer.
About 20 years ago I sat and wept in my driveway. We were comfortable in the church we had planted 15 years earlier. Yet the restlessness in our spirits was evident as we prayed. A feeling of transition yet again permeated our souls. Uncertainty was looming before us. God was calling us to new and uncharted territory. Again. At the time there was no paradigm for a prayer network prayer ministry, but it seemed this was where God was pointing. PIONEER. This song defined our hearts, our souls, our lives.
Since the 70’s we had heard and pursued a call from the Father to come out of the comfortable and step into new, uncharted areas. But in those uncertain times one of the best gifts God gives to pioneers is other pioneers who have also traveled the unfamiliar territories. They become your life long friends.
We were pioneers in the early 80’s when we stepped out of the Methodist pastorate to plant a new kind of church called Charismatic. A few other pioneers joined us.
We were pioneers in the mid 80’s when we, along with three other pioneer families, took our children out of public school to bring them home to educate them ourselves.
Now we were being called out to raise up a prayer network of intercessors to pray specifically for reconciliation and revival in the state of Mississippi. This song gave words to the strange, unsettling yet sure voice we had followed since our commitment to the Father back in 1971. Stepping out into this new, unknown place, his everlasting arms were sure, solid and held us firmly. Again we found a few pioneers on this new trail too.
And just as the song described, settlers came behind us and built it better and faster than we could have. There are now many huge Charismatic churches in most cities. The homeschool movement has exploded in our nation. There are numerous prayer networks that are doing it bigger and better and faster than we could have imagined. Most will never know our names, nor the names of countless other pioneers who pursued the call along with us. But these settlers needed and used the paths we had charted in order to build their highways. Isn’t that the way of the Kingdom? Filled with pioneers and settlers, both essential.
The words of this song continue to ring true today, just as the same call continues to resonate within our spirits. Still not sure of what to say when people ask, “Now, what is it that you do?” because there is always a new horizon ahead. We are pioneers, and settling is hard for a pioneer, even at seventy years old.
Now ask yourself: Does this song touch that deep place in your spirit? Do you hear the distant rumble on the next horizon? Are you yearning for more, feeling the transition but unable to define it with words? If so:
You, too, are a pioneer.
You are the one to cut the new path now. You do not know where or what you are seeking, but The Father does. He sees, knows and is pleased, always smiling and guiding you to step out deeper into the unknown.
As old pioneers, we are your cheerleaders. We want to give you a hoist up and champion your journey. We want to shout, “Go for it! Step up higher so you can see farther. Run to find the new thing Father is doing. Cut the trail so others can come behind you. Make the path clear, because they will need this road you are forging to build their highway or maybe even a runway.”
Keep pressing on. You are the pioneer.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14 (NKJV)