Scripture passages that shape our church on this topic:
Jesus’ last instructions were to go to every people, to the ends of the earth with the Gospel.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20).
Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. (John 20:21).
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8).
The early church followed Jesus’ instructions to cross cultures with the Gospel.
Then Paul and Barnabas boldly said: It was necessary that Gods message be spoken to you first. But since you reject it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles! For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:46-47).
We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name, including yourselves who also belong to Jesus Christ by calling (Rom. 1:5-6).
My aim is to evangelize where Christ has not been named, so that I will not build on someone elses foundation, but, as it is written: Those who were not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand. (Rom. 15:20-21).
When James, Cephas, and John, recognized as pillars, acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to me and Barnabas, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (Gal. 2:9).
After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. (Rev. 7:9).
“Getting out of the starting blocks”, steps to getting off the ground this year:
- Call some sending agencies and ask for advice in preparing and sending church members through their organizations. Examples are Frontiers and Pioneers.
- Meet with leadership from churches in your relational or denominational network who are sending long-term missionaries and learn about their approaches to training, selection, mobilizing, and partnership.
What we do:
In the past we have focused our long-term personnel to focus on one of three people groups and primarily through one organization (IMB). This has allowed people from our church to not be spread out too widely and has allowed us to partner closely with the sending agency. Recent changes in the strategy and appointment process of the IMB is causing us to consider a new sending channel so that we can be more involved in the selection, supporting, and sending of missionaries from our church.
We have created teams of people who are committed to going to the nations that are grouped by mega-blocks (e.g. Muslim world, Hindu world, China, and Africa. These teams hold one another accountable to continue in the appointment process, pray for one another, and develop teamwork and skills through ministering to local international students. These teams also are enrolled in our school and are working toward a Master’s in Biblical Studies through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that has a missions emphasis by taking courses like Missionary Anthropology, Cross-Cultural Church Planting, Introduction to Orality and Oral Cultures, Theology and Philosophy of Missions, and Basic Evangelism.
Key Lessons to Share:
- Cross-cultural living requires a special kind of person. It is important to encourage the only those who are spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and relationally mature. At times churches encourage anyone who is willing to consider missionary service and sometimes send missionaries who accomplish little on the field or even set the work back because the message they are proclaiming is distorted or they cause disruptions of healthy teams.
- The best way to develop a skill-set of a missionary is to start and lead small group Bible studies. This tests the relational, teaching, evangelizing, discipling, organizing, initiating, and persevering skills needed as a missionary. If someone wants to be a missionary who doesn’t have proven experience in leading a small group Bible study, it may be best to put them on hold until they can confirm these skills. This is even more helpful if the Bible study is among those from another culture like international students.
- Although we want to be active in supporting missionaries from our church, we realize that we won’t be able to provide field leadership for them. We will rely on help from others until our own teams can supply their own leadership.
- Although we want to be active in preparing missionaries from our church, we realize that we can’t fully train them for missionary service. We will rely on help from others to prepare them with higher level language learning skills, world-view studies and ministry approaches for their specific location, and other cross-cultural living skills.
Other Posts on this Topic
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 1: Getting Counsel
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 2: Getting Confidence
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 3: Getting “called”
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 4: Getting Prepared, Ministry Experience
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 5: Getting Prepared, Experience from a Short-term trip
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 6: Getting Prepared, Academic Training
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 7: Getting a Job
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 8: Getting a Ministry Assignment
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 9: Getting Qualified, Application details
- So you want to be a missionary? Next steps… Post 10: Resources
- The ten best places to teach English abroad
- Ten ways to encourage a missionary
Helpful Resources on this Topic:
Other topics in this series:
- Mobilize and educate the church to serve outside of its walls and lead them in praying for the nations
- Strategically allocate the church’s missions funds
- Select, promote, coordinate, train, lead, and debrief short-term missions trips
- Recruit, select, train, send, and support long-term missionaries from our church
- Create and coordinate evangelism and service projects in our community
- Recruit, develop, and send church planters from my church