It’s been about three months since I went to the C.R.O.S.S.19 conference! Ah, that was such a mountaintop experience for me. I treasure the memories and am still pondering some of the lessons I learned. (I really want to find time to go back and listen to all the sessions! So good!!)
C.R.O.S.S. is a conference for 18-25-year-olds dedicated to talking about missions. I’ve never felt particularly called to be a missionary, but often worried: should I feel called? Do I need to pack up and move to Uganda? Is that what you want of me, Lord?
But something that they kept going back to at this conference is that there are goers and there are senders.
“Some go. Some stay. All rejoice. All pray.” was a quote from the website. But we are ALL called to make disciples. Me. You. Every Christ-follower. Regardless of whether we go on missions trips a lot. Move to Africa to be a full-time missionary. Or never step foot out of the United States.
We are all missionaries.
We are all called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ!
If the love of God has changed your life, you need to tell somebody about it! If you believe in the reality of heaven and hell, you need to talk about that with your community! If Jesus means all that much to you, you should want others to be able to experience that!
See, there are lost people in the USA, too. Lost people in my state, in my town. People who are broken. Hurting. Trapped in darkness. People who desperately need to know the saving power of Christ!
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
I don’t feel called to be an overseas missionary. I don’t even really feel called to go on overseas mission trips right now. I don’t know. Maybe that will change as I continue to walk with God. Maybe God will call me tomorrow. Next year. In ten years.
I read Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors not too long ago, and it made me want to up and move … be a full-fledged missionary. But I think it had more to do with longing for purpose, different, adventure, and meaning in life than it was a genuine calling to the mission field.
The fact is, not everyone is called to move to a third-world country. Sometimes we get the idea that being an overseas missionary is how you are super holy Christian. And sometimes it sounds exciting and we figure we should jump on board. But I think we need to consider it more seriously. Maybe it is a calling. Are you called? Or are you just starving for purpose and adventure and you feel this might be the way to satisfy that?
See, in a third-world country, perhaps it’s easy for you to share the gospel and the people are eager to hear what you have to say. Whereas, in the United States, you feel awkward and fearful about talking about Jesus because, well … people look so put together and not like they need you and they might laugh in your face.
At home, maybe it’s hard for you to pursue God and be passionate about your faith. I mean, you could pray … or you could binge-watch that exciting TV show. We have so much. We are so entertained. Sometimes it’s so easy to lose sight of what should be our focus as Christians. Jesus Christ. His Kingdom.
I one-hundred percent believe that Katie Davis Majors was called to be a missionary in Uganda. To adopt fourteen beautiful Ugandan girls, and marry a missionary man there. But I also believe that other people are called to stay in their home country. There is a mission field here that God has called them to. Whether it’s in an inner city, a sick church, or a broken family.
38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
1 Peter 4:10-11
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
So be serious about discerning your calling. Maybe God is calling you to Uganda, China, or Iran. Or maybe He is calling you to stay right where you are. And you need to press deeper into Him and pray daily that He will help you stay on track and give you a deeper passion for His will.
But I do want to note here: if you don’t feel called to overseas missions, that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to do with them. You should see yourself as a sender. I should see myself as a sender.
This is perhaps one of the important reasons to be involved in a local church! So that you can support missionaries and missions through your church. Specifically support, pray for, and encourage! And perhaps pastors and deacons should be vigilant about calling out missionaries in their congregation and sending them on their way. As the Body of Christ, we all need to be doing our unique work in God’s kingdom and helping each other along the way!
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
So here are a few important things to note:
If you are a Christian, you are called to share the gospel and make disciples.
You should care about overseas missions – whether you are a missionary or not.
You can be praying regularly for unreached people groups.
You can be praying regularly for missionaries you know.
You can support missionaries and missions through giving money.
You can support missionaries and missions by giving of your time and your talents – from home!
You can reach out in needy situations in your home town! Being the hands and feet of Jesus is a good way to shine His light and open doors to share about Him!
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
You should be involved in a healthy church and making disciples there! Find a younger person to mentor. Lead a small group. Start a Bible study in your home. Reach out to one person who seems to be struggling.
Talk to your co-workers and friends and people you randomly start a conversation with in town. Tell them about Jesus Christ and what He has done in your life. (I know this is hard for some people … like myself! How do you bring up your faith in a light conversation? I’m reading a book right now called Turning Everyday Conversations Into Gospel Conversations that is helping me. Pray and ask God to open doors for faith conversations, and for joy and boldness to share!)
Sometimes life is hard and you feel ill-equipped to share Jesus and make disciples when you’re struggling so. Hang in there, friend. Find a godly older person to mentor you! Often we need our big brothers and sisters in the Lord to come around us and strengthen & encourage us, and help us to grow and be obedient!
Why are missions important? Why is it so vital to be sharing about Jesus in our everyday life and making sure the gospel reaches the ends of the earth?
Because as Christ-followers, God is our Savior, Lord, Father, and Friend, and our hearts should yearn to glorify Him!
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
Because we should have a deep love that desires for all people to experience the love of Jesus that has brought us out of our brokenness and darkness.
Because we should have compassion that drives us to warn all people that they might come to a saving knowledge of Christ and have eternal life, and not experience the just wrath of God.
So, go. Spread the good news of Jesus Christ. And also, realize that this is not all up to you and me. It never was. The Holy Spirit will do His work with or without you! But do you want God to be glorified in and through your life, or in spite of you?
Live to glorify Jesus Christ, friends. In whatever you do. Whether you are a goer or a sender. Whether you go on frequent mission trips or you don’t. Whether you are a writer, teacher, nurse, dancer, blogger, wife & mom, college student, long-term missionary in Africa, or working at JC Pennys.
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Surrender your life to Him and tell Him you will go wherever He leads.
Then rest in Him.
Lean into Him.
And let His love overflow out of your heart and onto all the people around you.
Love people. Because God loves people.
And make much of His great name.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.