In the airport in Dubai, on our way back from a trip through the Middle East, my wife and I had a short but life-altering conversation. After seeing the needs overseas, we asked each other the question, “Do we want to be the missionaries, or do we want to multiply the missionaries?” In other words, what is the best and most strategic thing that we can do for the millions of unreached people of the world in this season of our life? We decided the investment we were making in mobilizing laborers for the world was the best place we could leverage our lives for the Great Commission.
“Christians need conversion to missions as much as a sinner needs conversion to Christ.” – A.T. Pierson
If I could be a student again, I would. It is one of the most strategic places I can think of. Students are the future of the Church. One of the most powerful things you might do for the evangelization of the world will happen during your time as a university student. You can be the difference maker at your campus; in turn your campus will be the difference maker in the Church, and the Church will be the difference maker in the world. You can be a mobilizer.
Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Missions comments, “Here is a tragic fact: Only about one out of a hundred ‘missionary decisions’ results in actual career mission service. Why? First, because few parents, pastors and friends really encourage anyone to follow through on that kind of a decision. But what if that number could double to two out of a hundred? The effect would be explosive!” Mentoring others and multiplying your life is a powerful way to invest your life. Some believe they can’t make a difference because they may not have a large platform or ability to be a great communicator, but that is not the best way to impact the world. If you spoke to 100 people a day for 33 years, that would be over a million people that you impacted. However If you mobilized one person every year and taught that person to do the same, doubling every year from 2, 4, 8, and so on; then after 33 years you would have mobilized over 6 billion people. In other words, the workers are plentiful, but the mobilizers are few!
Standing before a crowd of college students, Dr. Winter challenged them, saying, “Suppose I had a thousand college seniors in front of me who asked me where they ought to go to make a maximum contribution to Christ’s global cause. What would I tell them? I would tell them to mobilize. All of them.” How in the world can this former missionary say this with a straight face - trying to talk people into delaying becoming missionaries? Because the need to sound the alarm is so great. Wouldn’t it be strategic to awaken one hundred sleeping firemen rather than to throw your own little bucket of water on the huge fire yourself? Some will go as pioneer missionaries. Still others will be able to stay back from the field and assist this entire U.S. mobilization process to succeed.
A mobilizer in simplest terms is one who multiplies, disciples, or mentors in missions.
Phil Parshall, missionary, author and mobilizer, said it this way, “Someone must sound the rallying call. Those who desire to see others trained, prepared and released to ministry are known as mobilizers. Mobilizers stir other Christians to active concern for reaching the world. Mobilizers are essential. To understand the role of mobilizers, think of World War II as a parallel. Only 10% of the American population went to the war. Of those, only 1% were actually on the firing lines. However, for them to be successful in their mission, the entire country had to be mobilized!”
The Traveling Team has a vision to raise up mobilizers at every university, within every ministry. We are not calling students to join an organization but a movement and a vision. Did you know that every major missions movement in history has been launched and fueled by university students? One student from Cornell University, John R. Mott, never served as a long term missionary, but became one of the greatest missions mobilizers in history. Mott led the movement known as the Student Volunteer Movement which lasted from the 1890s to the 1940s. They mobilized 100,000 students to give their lives to God’s global cause. But it has always started small. Five students at Williams College sparked a similar movement in 1806. Seven student athletes from Cambridge traveled and mobilized thousands of students to go to China with Hudson Taylor. Peers influence peers. The potential of a few college students, who catch a vision to mobilize at their campus, has left a massive ripple effect in the world in the past. I think they will again in the future.
If you were standing on the shore and saw a boat full of people sinking, what would you do to get involved? Would you dive in and try to save one or two? Or would you turn and awaken the sleeping lifeguards on the shore? The Traveling Team believes that the campus is a potential launching pad for laborers for the harvest. What if God used you to awaken these hundreds of potential World Christians? The ripple effect of your mobilization could result in raising up numerous missionaries, launching them to the ends of the earth.
Every story has a catalyst character. If that character is removed from the story, the ripple effect is devastating. What would the ripple effect be if you were missing from the story right now? Would it impact your campus or the world as a result of your absence? Jesus was the most influential catalyst character in our history. Jesus’ ministry mainly took place within one hundred miles from his hometown, but he mobilized and equipped a few others, commissioned them with a charge to disciple all nations and to be his witness to the ends of the earth. Jesus was more of a mobilizer than we realize at times. Paul was clearly a pioneer missionary, but we see his heart to mobilize in the forefront of his mind in many of his letters to the churches. The letters to Ephesus, Galatia, and even Romans were heavily focused on God’s plan to include the Gentiles in his offer of salvation. Paul called others to join him in ministering to the nations, giving them Biblical evidence from the Old Testament (Rom 15:8-12) and giving them a look at the state of the unreached world (Rom 15:19-24). Paul was involved in the discussion and decision of the Church in Acts 15 to become intentional about sending out missionaries to the nations. Paul was planting churches but he was mobilizing the entire Church to embrace God’s purpose toward all peoples.
Not Location, but Lordship and Lifestyle
Mobilization is not about getting people to change their location, but about Lordship and a lifestyle that matches God’s heart. You may already be in a great position to come along side others in your campus ministry or church as a servant and help be a catalyst for missions vision. We all know people who are still unconvinced or uninvolved and you can be a loving voice of truth, helping them catch the vision just like you did. Missions is like the “gospel” for Christians. What if in your Bible study you began to teach on the biblical theme of God’s heart for the nations? What if in your church small group you began to lead a prayer time focused on the world? What if you volunteered to lead a two minute missions moment at your large group meeting each week? What if in your one-to-one time with other students you discipled them through some of the material from The Traveling Team’s website? What if you planned to go short-term to the unreached and invited four to five others to come with you one summer? Habakkuk 2:2 says to “Write down the vision, make it plain, so that the herald may run with it.” We have developed tools and resources on our website around making these missions concepts simple or “plain,” so that you can herald it and run with it on your campus.
This is our next step to challenge you. Will you take the baton and run with it in mobilizing your peers? We want to provide you with tools, coaching and resources to pass on your missions vision to others. You are the hope of your campus; the campus is the hope of the Church and the Church is the hope of the world.
Ezra 7:10 says, “Ezra set in his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach His statues and rules in Israel.” Before you spread it out you have to start living it out. You are never finished growing as a World Christian but we want to help you develop so that you can lead others.