Not My Ability, But My Availability!

Tags: From Canada, Japan, Story

By Dave Barkman, a mission worker in Japan.

Are you interested in cross-cultural work but feel inadequate? Do you sense God might be calling you to a ministry, but you are concerned that you do not yet have all the necessary skills? I can relate!  

During Bible College, I began to think God was leading me into cross-cultural church ministry. However, I felt my area of strength was in working with my hands and not in evangelism or discipleship. I was not much of a people-person, so I asked myself, “How can I teach the Bible or disciple believers”?

I spent a lot of time in prayer, wrestling with God and what He wanted me to do. I came to realize that, more than my skills and experience, God wanted me to be available for whatever work He had for me.


I studied hard during college to prepare for cross-cultural ministry. Yet, when I came to Japan to serve, I still felt inadequate. In fact, I discovered that I was not adequately prepared for the work God had for me. I still had much to learn!

Who am I?

My initial years in ministry were challenging. I was focused on my performance, believing that if I did the right things the right way, I would see results. When I did not see fruit from my efforts, I often asked myself, “Who am I? What am I doing here?” But I believe God was trying to show me, “It is not about who you are, it’s about who I am.” I needed to get my eyes off myself and onto Jesus and learn to serve His way.

For instance, originally I thought I could bypass being relational with people and just talk about Jesus. However, God impressed on my heart that I must first build relationships with people and love them well and deeply. As I learned to develop loving, caring friendships, I began to see Japanese people opening their hearts to God!

Experiencing Transformation

I came to Japan to share Christ with the Japanese people and see them transformed through a personal relationship with Jesus. However, God transformed me, and really, He still is! And much to my joy, He has enabled me to teach the Bible and disciple believers with passion, satisfaction and fruitfulness!

If you are feeling inadequate or anxious about the ministry God may be leading you to, that is normal! However, if you submit to God’s perfect will for you, I believe He will prepare and enable you for the work He has wisely planned for you! 

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