This week is Missions Emphasis week at Liberty University. That along with a message by Steve Saint last Sunday night at Thomas Road Baptist Church, and several other things that the Lord had put in my path this past week has led me to write this post. Those of you that really know me know that I am passionate about missions and helping to educate believers that all of us have a role to fulfill in the Great Commission. This post is based on an outline that I was privileged to help teach a few years ago at Rainbow Forest Baptist as part of their Missions Institute.
There are five basic roles within missions and much like spiritual gifts and love languages, we may fulfill more than role, but there is likely a primary role that you are being called to. In my own life, I’ve seen the Lord move me through various roles, not because my passion changed, but because the Lord moved me, geographically or otherwise through several of these roles. Here are the five roles, followed by a brief description of each one.
A mobilizer is one who trains, mentors, encourages others to go. This is one of the roles that I am currently playing. I love talking with folks about missions and fanning the flames in their hearts to be goers, whether short-term or long-term. “Going” is never easy, and the body needs mobilizers to make sure that those who go are as prepared as possible before they go.
A sender is someone who ‘sends’ those who go. This can be someone who financially supports missionaries, but more importantly it is someone who not only gives financial support, but prayer support prior to the missionary going, and while the missionary remains on the field. As a former missionary who relied on faithful financial and prayer support, I can testify to the fact that this role is vital to the success of missionaries on the field. If you are called to be a sender, educate yourself on the culture(s) where your missionary will be living. Once they are on the field, find out how you can support them while they are in their country of service. Small packages, letters, reading material that they may not be able to get, church bulletins, etc., can be a huge morale booster!
An intercessor is a prayer ‘warrior’. We all know who these folks are! I will admit this is the role that I have the hardest time fulfilling, but I am so thankful for those of you who fulfill this role. We had several precious saints filling this role while we were on the field, and again, I can testify to the impact that these intercessors and their prayers have on missionaries in the field. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that while on the field there are days where the busyness of the day starts before you have time to get alone with God and start your day as you should. There would be days where it would be lunch time and I realized that I had not had an opportunity to spend some quiet time alone with God, but had encountered situations earlier in the day where I needed to be Spirit-filled, and where I needed Godly wisdom, that I’m sure came about as a result of an intercessor, somewhere, praying for us.
These are the individuals and families who “go”. I’m going to tell you right off the bat….we are ALL called to be goers. That does not mean that we all need to go to Africa, Asia, South America, etc. However, each and every one of us has a mission field, and it starts at your work place, your neighborhood, your family. If you won’t “go” locally, you shouldn’t “go” globally. However, there are those of us who do need to go globally. The going is not about a place, it is about an obedience to God’s call. God doesn’t need any of us to do His work, but He allows us to be used by Himself to make disciples of all nations. Don’t limit God by saying, “I’ll go if You send me to <insert your favorite country/continent here>”. Going is not about you, it’s about God. Go wherever He sends you. I firmly believe that God will honor your obedience in ways that will absolutely blow your mind.
A greeter is someone who welcomes missionaries home, whether on furlough (or home assignment), or if they are returning permanently. As someone who seriously struggled with reverse culture shock upon returning home, individuals who served as greeters upon our return definitely made my initial transition at least much easier. Many missionaries return to no house, no car, no job and the last thing they need to be concerned about after numerous hours of travel with likely their only belongings, are life’s basic needs. When we returned we were welcomed home to a fully stocked missions house where we were allowed to live rent free for up to six months. They made available a car for us to use until we could gain transportation on our own. Wow, what a blessing that was!
In closing, I want to recommend a book entitled, “So Send I You”, by Oswald Chambers. Those of you familiar with “My Utmost For His Highest” will see that many of those daily devotions come from that book. It is a book that changed my life, and speaks directly to discerning God’s call on our lives. Get it, read it, you will never be the same!
So what role(s) is God calling you to fill in regards to missions? Are you blooming where He has planted you? Time is short my friends, let’s put our hands to the plow and get working, for His glory!