God Calls People to Missionary Service
Terry Read, a missionary and missionary professor, took a poll among missionaries who had been on the mission field for some time. The main question was about the moment and timing of their initial calling to follow God’s call to missions. Terry Read found that:
* 21% were called as a result of a missions education service in their local church.
* 20% felt God calling them after listening to missionary speakers.
* 19% were called because of their own family’s missions vision and conversations.
* 10% heard God’s call through reading missions books.
We were blessed recently to have the Patrick Miller family with us in Indiana. They were a tremendous blessing to several of our churches as they ministered and shared their burden for Bangladesh and India. His testimony doesn’t match any of the reasons listed above for being called to the mission field. He was the pastor of a thriving church in Franklinton, Louisiana for nine years. He and his wife shared a beautiful home with their children. He was in his third year as the District Foreign Missions Director for Louisiana. And then he went to India.
The pull of the people of India was so strong. The call of God was so clear. He returned home knowing that he had to share this burden with his wife and family. God was already ahead of him. When God calls a person, He also paves the way for the journey He has called them to. Needless to say, the whole family is on board with Bro. Patrick and they are in their final stretch of deputation and fund raising.
It just goes to show that God’s ways are far above our understanding. Who might have guessed that Bro. Miller’s call into full-time missions work would have come at this stage of his ministry? The question could certainly be asked of all of us. What if God were to call you in a new direction in your walk with Him? What if you received the same call that Bro. Miller received? How would you respond?
I came across this following list of “10 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Missionary!” on our Foreign Missions website and thought I would share it with you. I hope you will receive it as a tongue-in-cheek look at how some of us might react if God were to speak to us, out of the blue, concerning our calling and our ministry.
10 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Missionary
1. Ignore Jesus request in John 4:35 to take a long hard look at the fields.
* Seeing the needs of people can be depressing and very unsettling.
* It could lead to genuine missionary concerns.
John 4:35 Say ye not, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
2. Focus your energies on socially legitimate targets.
* Focus on getting a job promotion, a bigger home, a nicer car, or future financial security.
3. Get married to somebody who thinks the “Great Commission” is what your employer gives you after you make a big sale.
4. Stay away from missionaries.
* Their testimonies can be disturbing. Especially when the word “Sacrifice” is mentioned.
5. If you do think about missions, restrict your attention to countries where it’s impossible to openly do missionary work.
* Think only about North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, and other closed countries.
6. Rationalize just how bad a missionary you would be based on your own past failures.
* It is unreasonable to expect that you will ever do any better.
* Don’t even think about Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, or Mark, all of whom overcame failures.
7. Always imagine missionaries as extremely talented, super spiritual people who stand on lofty pedestals.
* This image of missionaries will heighten your sense of inadequacy, convincing you that God does not use ordinary people as missionaries.
8. Agree with the people who tell you that you are indispensable where you are.
* Listen when they tell you that your local church or home country can’t do without you.
9. Worry incessantly about money.
10. If you still feel you must go, go right away without any preparation or training.
* You will soon be back home again and no one can ever blame you for not trying!
There will always be a host of reasons and excuses for not answering the call of God, whether it is to missions or any other endeavor. The challenge is for all of us to answer the call. Whatever it may be, at whatever point and time in your ministry or walk with God, He will never call you to something that He hasn’t tested and approved you for. God will not send you except He goes before you. Go ahead! Answer the call and see what God will do in you and through you for the kingdom.
This article “God Calls People to Missionary Service” by Tim Pedigo was excerpted from: Indiana Apostolic Trumpet magazine. September 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.