Have you ever wondered to yourself, am I called to missions?
The answer is simple: Yes. If you’ve been called to Christ, you’re called to missions. The real question is how, are you called to missions? The aim of this article is to help you take a next step as a faithful Christian, with respect to missions specifically.
A “Calling to Missions”
First, let’s define some terms.
The word “missions” isn’t in the Bible, but “missions” has historically referred to the practice of sending Christians to other countries to evangelize the people there. A “missionary,” then, is someone who goes to another country to announce, or spread, the gospel. As the term missions has developed, its meaning has both broadened and narrowed, depending on who’s using it. For the purposes of this article, we’ll think of a missionary as someone who goes to a people group that doesn’t have the gospel in order to evangelize them.
Second, let’s define “called.” American evangelicals often talk about their “calling,” or things that God is “calling” them to, or “feeling called.” And this is often how people talk about being “called” to missions. The fact is that the Bible just doesn’t use the word “called” like that. To state it in an unnuanced way that might require elaboration elsewhere, the idea of “feeling called’ to something is nowhere in the Bible. The way the Bible most often uses the term “to be called” is to talk about how God calls people from death to life—to Christ (see Eph. 1:18; there are a few exceptions to this, as in when God called the apostles, but none that are relevant to this issue).
Our calling is the fact that God has called us into being saints, and to be obedient to everything that Jesus has commanded.
What All Christians Are Called To
We’re called to obey God’s commandments. Included in those commandments are, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). However, that command isn’t given to Christians as individuals, but to Christ’s Church as a whole. As members of a local church, we are both objects of this command (we’re baptized and are learning to obey Jesus), and subjects of it. Together, we are to engage in making disciples of all nations as members of our church.
What are we called to? We’re for sure called to the responsibilities that God says we have in existing relationships—in families, at work, in church (1 Cor. 7:17; Eph. 5:15-6:9). We’re for sure called to corporate prayer for the global advancement of the gospel (Matt. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 2:1-7). We’re for sure called to tell unbelievers about Jesus (Eph. 5:13-14; Col. 4:5-6; 1 Pet. 2:9). We’re for sure called to give money for the advancement of the gospel (3 John 8).
Now, before we consider whether or not you personally should be a missionary, we need to ask: are you being faithful to these things now?
If you’re like most of us, your answer isn’t ironclad. You’d probably say: partially. But with Christ, we can do better.
Should I Become a Global Missionary?
First, consider whether or not you can change your present responsibilities. Do you have family or work responsibilities that would necessitate you to remain where you’re at? Could you change your church membership to a church elsewhere in the world to serve there? Do you have a holy reason not to? If you are being faithful in the things you are for sure called to, and you don’t necessarily need to stay in America, consider talking to a pastor. Ask about next steps, such as a Vision Trip or further learning.
Second, consider how you can help your present church pray faithfully for the advancement of the gospel. If you’re in a Small Group, you can ask your Small Group leader if he or she would lead the group in doing that—and even offer to help. Perhaps, if you’re a husband, you can lead your family in these sorts of prayers. If you’re a parent, you should lead your children to know and pray for global missionaries. Similarly, Scripture binds elders to lead the church in this pattern of praying. If you’re an elder, are you doing it? If you’re a friend, can you pray for the nations with your friends? All you need to do, in any of these circumstances, is ask if you can do it, and then do it. One tool I use is the Joshua Project people group of the day.
Third, how can you do what 1 Peter 2:9 says we exist to do—proclaim God’s glories—more and more? I’m going to warn you here: this requires being weird. But that’s what being holy is to the world—it’s weird. Are you happy? Tell unbelievers what you’re thanking God for. Are you sad? Tell unbelievers that you’re sad, but that your hope is in the glorious return of Jesus. Are you overcome by sin? Tell unbelievers that you’re a bad person but are so thankful that Jesus died for you. Do you have plans? Tell unbelievers that you will do such and such a thing if the Lord Jesus wills. Are unbelievers confiding in you? Ask them if you can pray for them.
Honestly, do you know what my wife and I did while serving in China? We simply asked if people would want to read the Bible with us. Why not try that? Heck, invite people to dinner and family worship afterward!
Fourth, increase your giving to missionaries. Oh, and pray for them when they send out prayer letters. One helpful way my church makes this possible is by providing a digital missionary map with updated photos and prayer requests from those who are serving across the globe.
But, How Do I Know if I Personally Am Called to Be a Missionary?
Simple. Biblically, you’re called to it if you are one.
So, here’s a better question for you. Do you have any good reason not to try to be a global missionary? Let me say this another way: would it be sinful for you to move somewhere else for the sake of the gospel? If not, why not try to do it? Billions of people in the world have no access to the gospel and will spend eternity under the wrath of God. And worse, billions of people have not heard the name of Jesus, and Jesus isn’t being glorified in huge, geographical areas of the globe. Thousands of languages exist in which the Triune God of Scripture isn’t being praised. So again—do you have a good reason not to try to be a missionary?
And are you being faithful to what God has called you to right now? How can you be more faithful at being a disciple and also making disciples?
Here are some next steps:
- Figure out your options. Can you go? How, when, and where?
- Help your church pray for the advance of the gospel.
- Reject people-pleasing and seek to engage outsiders with the news about Jesus.
- Partner with missionaries.
May God our Savior grant us power for the proclamation of his name in all the earth!