Should I Go Into Missions?

“Should I go into Missions?”
“Does God expect me to seriously consider foreign missions as a career choice?” “Am I obligated to go into missions?” “Should I feel guilty for staying in the States?” “If I don’t know what to do with my life, should I just go into missions since I know it’s a good thing to do?”
Since we have started raising support for missions, we have had many people seek us out for advice on if they should or should not go into missions. And although our initial response is that we want everyone to go into missions, at the end of the day, we cannot answer these tough questions for our friends. Nevertheless, to those of you who may be thinking through some of these life-altering questions, we pray that the following truths will help you find some clarity.
1. Be Encouraged – God is a Giver of Wisdom! “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). God’s very nature is that of a wisdom-giver. He is generous in dispersing wisdom to humanity. So generous, that he imbedded his attributes in creation so that people might see who he is and give thanks to him. God himself actually came down to earth, lived among people and taught them. And he, simply as an extension of his wisdom-giving nature, gave us the 66 books that make up the Bible-so that we might know his will. The Lord is committed to giving wisdom…
BUT only those who seek him in faith will find it:
James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
If you doubt that the Lord will direct your steps, he will resist you. If you approach the Scriptures like a skeptic and not like a humble child, you will not receive anything from the Lord. Thus, the first step in determining if you should or should not go into missions is to ask yourself, “Am I praying to the Lord in faith believing that he will give me wisdom regarding this decision?” Perhaps you’re reading a book a day on “the call” to missions but still you have not come to any conclusions. Could it be that you are simply not coming to the Lord in prayer believing that he will generously give wisdom to you? Take heart-he will give you wisdom as to if you should or should not go into missions-approach him boldly and ask in faith.
2. Do Not Wait for the Writing on the Wall. It seems as if many people are looking for a “second call” in addition to the call of Christ in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations. Actually, Dave has said in the past that he hesitated to go into missions because he did not have any additional “call” outside of Matthew 28. I am not saying that the Lord does not or should not “write on the wall” for people to direct them into missions. However, what I am saying is that Matthew 28 is sufficient and reason enough to firmly and decidedly go overseas. Sadly, I believe that many missions-minded people are staying in the States because they are waiting for the “writing on the wall” experience instead of planting their feet firmly on the words of Christ to “Go into all nations.”
What I am NOT saying is that going overseas is the only way to fulfill the Great Commission.What I AM saying is that because of the Great Commission you can go overseas confidently without waiting for a second call. So, the bottom line is:If you are waiting for an experience outside of what is found in Scripture, wait no longer!The Great Commission is reason enough to go overseas!
3. Get the Facts. We cannot care for what we do not know. The secular world knows this and that is why there are many movements to “raise awareness.” We will not naturally care about breast cancer or heart disease until we are properly educated with the statistics. We will not give money to save endangered species if we do not know they are near extinction. We will not adopt orphans if we do not know there are orphans. And we will not go into missions if we think every other country has all the same spiritual resources that we have in America. Learning the statistics is the main thing the Lord has used to push me into missions. Here’s some ideas to get you started:
  • Wylciffe’s Bible Translation Statistics
  • IMB’s Global Research
  • You could also the websites of missions agencies and look at what kind of needs they are presenting.
  • You could ask a fellow class-mate or church member who is from another country what the state of the church is like in their home country.
  • You could ask your pastor for a list of missionaries that he knows serving around the world and email them and ask them if they need any help. You could ask them what the needs are in the area that they are serving in.
4. Examine Yourself. In your journey to discern whether or not to spend your life as a missionary, have you asked yourself:
  • Am I willing to go? (Please see our blog You May not Be “Called” But are you Willing?)
  • What is something that is keeping me here in the States?Is this “something” a Kingdom-of-God reason or a “felt-needs” reason?
  • Do I feel a particular “call” to stay in America?Why or why not?
  • Do I feel a particular “call” to work at my place of employment?
  • Have I exposed myself to the spiritual poverty in the world or am I remaining willfully ignorant?
  • Am I willing to suffer for Christ?
  • Am I willing to lower my standard of living so that others might know of Christ?
  • Am I apathetic towards the spiritually impoverished peoples of the world?
  • Am I storing up my treasures in Heaven or on Earth?
  • Am I willing to become poor so that many might become rich? Am I willing to sell all of my possessions?
  • Do I believe the grace of God is sufficient in any and every situation?
  • Do I believe that I can do ALL things (even missions!) through Christ who gives me strength?
  • Is there a sin in my life that I am nurturing that may be clouding my judgment at this time?
  • Is my hope in Heaven?Or am I seeking to make this world my Heaven?
  • What are three specific things that are keeping me here in America?Would the Lord consider these three things good reasons to stay in America? Why or why not?
  • Is my hope more in my present body and health or in my resurrection body?To what ends will I go to preserve my health?Are there noble reasons to expose myself to sickness and/or risk my life?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 how committed am I to comfort?Is comfort something I am willing to give up?
  • Am I trying to avoid pain? Even at the expense of another person’s soul?
  • Why would I go into foreign missions?
  • Why would I not go into foreign missions?
  • On my deathbed, what would I consider a worthwhile life?
  • Am I seeking first the Kingdom of God or am I thinking “What would I eat on the mission field? What would I drink? What would I wear?”
  • Am I looking to God to provide me with clothing, food, and shelter on the mission field?
  • Do I believe that God is capable and willing to give me wisdom in any and all cultural situations?
  • Do I trust God with all the unanswered questions about my future?
  • Am I seeking to find my identity in Christ alone or are there competitors?What are they?
  • Do I believe that Christ will be with me, even in the darkest places?
These are weighty questions. Whether or not you choose to go into missions, we pray that the Lord would use them to help you confess wrong motives, loosen your grip on this world, and cling to God’s promises.
In the end my prayer is that God would use you and me in mighty ways. That we would be warriors that conquer this entire world with the love of Christ. You may ask these questions of yourself, consider the Great Commission and these other passages and determine that you have a Kingdom-of-God reason to stay in America. To that I say, “Praise the Lord!” Praise the Lord that there are people laboring here for Christ’s church. There are good reasons to stay. But should this drive you to joining the ranks fighting for the name of Christ overseas, we will be happy for the company! 🙂

Author: Stacey Hare

Stacey is a servant of Jesus Christ as well as a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator among the Kwakum people of Cameroon.