The last words a dying person says are a summation of what they hold to be of greatest 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 stated:
“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.” -Matthew 28:18-20
What’s tragic is that we are so far from seeing Jesus’ intent actualized and that so few believers are doing anything about it. There is a dying world that exists, and we not only have the prescription that will cure them, we also have all of the authority given to Jesus to administer the cure with Jesus as our companion as we take His message of hope and restoration to those who need it the most.
The Search4 reminds us that 88% of the people that have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel reside within the 10/40 window and 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 to Muslims for every one million Muslim people
-There are 5 missionaries to Buddhists for every one million Buddhist people
-There are 5 missionaries to Hindus for every one million Hindu people
-There are 186 missionaries to Christian countries for every one million Christians
-There is one missionary for every 200 people in Mexico
-There is one missionary for every 186 people in Argentina
-There is one missionary for every 3 million people in Vietnam
-There is one missionary 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, yet you can’t find the Church there. We need to begin to think strategically where we will go. Scripture never talks about needing to have some “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 rather mediate on the fact that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to us and that Jesus therefore wants 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.
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 that 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, doing 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 reading Module 9. Next, check out Appendix D to get a small snap shot of what a few mission agencies look like. Find out which agencies focus on areas that you might be interested in. Read up on their short term trips and just 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?
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?
God has been moving in amazing ways as students have asked Him to reveal where they should go and who they should go with. Here are some incredible stories of the ways that God has been working in other college students lives in the area of going.
“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
What jumped out at you as you researched the various people group websites? Was 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 (for example “I plan on going with New Tribes on a summer mission trip this summer and will pray for unreached tribes every week”).