I am often asked, “How long should a team remain with an unreceptive people group before moving to another group or location?” There is no easy answer to this question–no universal response to the question of should we stay or should we go?
People are not robots. Though all are dead in sin and trespasses, not everyone responds to the gospel with the same action and attitude. We only need to look at the New Testament to see this truth.
We know Jesus, His disciples, and Paul, at times, “shook off the dust” and moved on to others (e.g., Acts 18:6). We know Paul preferred to preach to receptive peoples. And I hope, we also desire such audiences.
How long is long enough? This is a complex question. Teams need to consider at least four matters as they seek first the Kingdom (Prov 3:5-6).
Should We Stay or Go?
Teams should examine their call to the people/location. Do they believe they should remain? If so, remain.
Teams should ask what they sense the Spirit is doing among this people, in this place, at this time. Maybe the team needs to remain and continue to pray and sow (1 Cor 3:6). Maybe part of what is to come is based on the team living out the Kingdom among an apathetic people.