The last words a dying person says are a summation of what they hold to be of great importance. Their purpose in those final moments is to condense a lifetime of experience and wisdom and pass it on to those they hold most dear. Jesus knew His time was approaching and therefore He called His disciples together for one last lesson that would convey the very core of His purpose in coming to earth. As the disciples are crouched around Him, listening intently, He says in Matthew 28:18-20:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The world is dying and full of hurting people, and as followers of Jesus we have the prescription of salvation for a hurting world. Also, we have all of the authority of Jesus to administer the cure! Even better news, Jesus doesn’t send us alone, but He goes with us as our companion when we take His message of hope and restoration to those who need it most.
Recall from section one of Beginner’s Guide, 88% of the people who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel reside within the 10/40 window, but yet only 2.5% of the missionary task force works within this area of the world. Here are some other shocking stats that break down the grave reality of what the great commission looks like today:
There are 3 missionaries sent for every one million Muslims.
There are 5 missionaries sent for every one million Buddhists.
There are 5 missionaries to Hindus for every one million Hindus.
There are 186 missionaries sent to Christian countries for every one million Christians.
There is one missionary sent for every 2000 people in Mexico.
There is one missionary sent for every 186 people in Argentina.
There is one missionary sent for every 3 million people in Vietnam.
There is one missionary sent for every 3 million people in Iran.
When you begin to think about going, don’t forget to ask yourself, “Why am I going to this particular area?” You can find Coca Cola in every country on the planet, but unfortunately you can’t find the Church in every country as well. We need to think strategically as we decide where we will go.
Scripture never talks about needing to have some a “spiritual call” from God before one can do missions. The best way to find out if you should be a long term missionary is to spend at least a small amount of time overseas to see if the Lord might have you go for a longer amount of time. God clarifies in the midst of obedience, not beforehand.
To help keep Jesus’ purpose constantly before you, make it one of your applications to memorize Matthew 28:18-20. Really spend time not just memorizing the words, but meditating on the fact that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to us, Jesus does not want us to not be fearful as we go with Him to make disciples of ALL nations.
Often times the “burning bush experience” we all are waiting for comes as we dig into the wealth of knowledge that exists on the state of the world. One man, as he was reading through Operation World, said he got to Afghanistan and didn’t need to go any further in the alphabet of unreached people because the needs there were overwhelming enough to make him want to spend his life serving among Afghanis!
One way to learn more is to research the State of Global Evangelization. Here are some websites that will help you in the process of researching various people groups that have never heard the gospel:
Many people prepare best by seeing what God has done through the lives of others that have gone before them. A video that captures the power the gospel has on a tribe living in remotest jungles of Papua New Guinea is called EE-Taow. You can access this video by going to “Youtube” and typing in “EE-Taow” and view parts one and two. Another way to be inspired by missionaries is to read their biographies.
Another way to be inspired is to read missionary biographies. Consider reading a book The Traveling Team wrote about women in missions: “Here I Am, Send My Sister.”
Now that you’ve seen the dire need for laborers to go to the uttermost areas of the world and have been inspired by the great cloud of witnesses who have paved the way it is time to find out what agency would be the best fit for you. There are more than 4,000 mission agencies in the world that can send you anywhere, to work with any religion and do almost anything! The only problem is this: it can seem overwhelming to find the right one for you.
One way to start the process of pursuing a relationship with a mission agency is by allowing The Traveling Team to personally match you with an organization based on your interests. Find out more on how to do that here. Find out which agencies focus on areas that you might be interested in. Read up on their short term trips and find out which ones sound interesting to you. Pray about if you should go this summer. Finally, it may be helpful to think through these questions when trying to determine the best fit:
What is my major?
Do I want to use it overseas?
How long am I committing to go?
What is my view on certain theological topics?
What denomination am I apart of?
Does my denomination have its own sending group?
What do I want to experience?
Keep in mind as you research and read: what jumped out at you as you researched the various people group websites? Is there a certain biography that you read that inspired you? Which one or two agencies that you found that would be a good fit with who God’s made you to be?
It’s been found that it takes seven years for a person once captured by God’s heart for the nations to actually make it to the mission field and the only way that they go after seven years is if they keep the vision constantly before them. In order to not let your vision fade, write out the specific steps you plan on taking in the next year to move you closer to going.
Hear from students are have taken the leap and are GOING to the nations:
“I’m really EXCITED ABOUT CHINA!!!!! I can’t wait to go. This Friday I actually have leadership training in Kansas and will meet my other co-leader and get a chance to hang out with him. I’m super excited! As far as everything else goes, I’m having to go back to the scriptures again and again, especially about funding. . . there’s a lot needed! God is perfect in His timing, and I’m re-learning patience and complete trust in Him.” —Elizabeth
“I have really started to feel God’s tug on my heart to go to the nations and have started to think even more strongly about going to Africa in the summer of ’09 for a month or so. I really feel a call to the tribal people and those in the poor villages in Africa. It seems so much like Haiti which I have been to in the past only a truly unreached people unlike those of Haiti who have many missions every year. I look forward to learning more and seeing where God is taking me.” —Kelsey