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5 Unmistakable Qualities of the Pioneering Missionary

Sophia Hamilton September 1, 2020


Here at YWAM Mazatlan, we love to pioneer and co-create with God. We want to be his hands and feet and respond to the things that are on his heart! Whether that means traveling to a new community or country, starting new missionary training programs, building houses, distributing Bibles, or expanding our campus, we’re going to do it!

We know and believe that God has called us to mission work. We’ll do everything we can out of love so that Jesus is known in all nations. This is what it means to have a pioneering spirit: blazing trails and going where no one has ever dared to go before.

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Are you called to pioneer? Maybe you have a project in your heart that you want to start, or a dream that you’ve been waiting for and wanting to see it come true. Perhaps there’s a specific nation you want to go to. You might even be the first person in your family to become a missionary.

Whatever it is that you’re looking to pioneer, you’ve come to the right place. From our Discipleship Training School to our Leadership and Pioneering Seminar, you’re sure to find a missionary training program that will help launch you into your God-given calling.

Take a minute to think of the people you know who’ve been the first to pioneer and go ahead of the rest. These are the people who are on the cutting edge, always innovating and taking risks for God.

We can learn a lot from these individuals, so we’ve compiled a list of 5 key characteristics that’ll help you discover what it takes to become a pioneering missionary!


Your dreams involve others

Pioneering is part of our YWAM DNA. From the beginning, the pioneering spirit has run through our veins all the way from our founder, Loren Cunningham, to our directors at YWAM Mazatlan.

More: 17 Things You Probably Didn't Know About YWAM

It was 2004 when our directors, Brent and Heather Madsen, along with a pioneering team, dared to come to Mazatlan, Mexico. They came with a purpose and dream in their hearts to establish a YWAM missionary training center.

Their vision has been to see young Mexicans, Latinos, and foreigners be trained, equipped, and liberated in their destiny. Whether that means serving in the local church or in the nations, it doesn’t matter—we just want to mobilize youth for Christ.

Being a pioneer means you’re the person who scouts out new ventures and takes the first steps for others to continue.

For years, Brent and Heather have believed and worked to empower young people and see them walk in what God has called them to. Pioneering is about blessing others!

We’ve never set our pioneering spirit off to the side. We continue dreaming and working hand in hand with God to reach new places out of love for the gospel.


You have your eye on both the present and the future

A pioneer can envision the before and after. One local example is our Bibles for Mexico ministry, a project focused on distributing the Bible to every home in Mazatlan.

We want all people to have access to the word of God. We do this by walking from door to door, inviting people into a conversation, and handing them a free Bible.

At the date of this publication, we’ve distributed Bibles to nearly 50% of the city of Mazatlan. We’ve heard so many testimonies, and they’ve been incredible. But our eyes are still on the future. We keep dreaming and we’re still working to complete this project not just in Mazatlan, but also throughout Mexico and the nations.

A pioneer looks at the big picture and keeps moving forward. She doesn’t settle for what she’s already accomplished, but persists until she sees the transformation that God has promised.

Learn more about our Leadership and Pioneering Seminar

You’re willing to take risks

Being a pioneer means being a person who is willing to overcome fears with great courage and faith. A few years ago, we pioneered a new ministry into one of the hardest hit areas of the city where there’s a lot of brokenness and visible crime.

God has called us to serve there and be a light! It all started with bravery; one of our staff felt that he should go and “take that land” and start a project that would bless many. At first it sounded very risky, but we’ve been persistent and are thankful that we listened and obeyed God.

We are privileged to be the only ministry actively serving in this neighborhood. Currently we work with children, families, and drug addicts, taking the love and word of God and demonstrating it through our actions to these people.


You stand firm in the face of opposition

When a pioneer begins to do something that’s never been done before, there will undoubtedly be opposition. But we’ve learned not to be passive.

Of course not! There’s no time to be passive! Our spirits are ready to fight any battle—emotional, physical or spiritual. We’re known as a tribe of fighters and we’ll continue to fight for the things God has spoken to us!

Our foundation is our faith and trust in God. When the Bible mentions in the book of Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” We believe him! Nothing can stand against us.

A pioneer will be criticized, mocked, and often belittled. But the men and women who’ve made history on earth have learned that the only way to overcome great challenges is when you’re walking hand in hand with God.

Undertaking something new is not easy, but God is the one who gives us grace, strength and wisdom in every situation. He has been and always will be the author of our victories.

More: 9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About YWAM Ships

You’re unstoppable

The legacy of a pioneer is that others may walk the path that he fought to create.

When a pioneer is guided by God, they’re not only motivated to see a dream come true, but they’ll work hard for it, even when it means paying a high price.

Our passion has always been to pioneer various projects that influence and impact different parts of society; and that's exactly what we've been doing since our beginning in 2004.

We have big dreams. Perhaps one of the biggest ones is to establish a Vibrant missions training campus with the capacity to train and mobilize up to 5000 students per year.


This campus will train students in a multitude of programs and courses, equipping them to use their individual callings to bring the good news to the whole world.

A pioneer knows that his sacrifice will transform someone's life. Whether it’s through our ship, one of our outreach trips around the world, or the impact we leave during Mazatlan’s annual Carnaval, our focus at YWAM Mazatlan is to receive, train, and send!

God is looking for people who will go where no one has ever set foot, willing to start projects that have never been done before, all for the love of his name. People who love to include others, see the big picture, take risks, and never give up.

Do you have what it takes to pioneer?

Apply for our Leadership and Pioneering Seminar

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