Unity from Diversity in the Missionary Calling
Experience shows God calls diverse people to be missionaries from a very wide spectrum of personality types, family backgrounds, and life and ministry experiences.
In many ways, God’s glory is uniquely reflected through His willingness and ability to call, empower, and unify an amazingly diverse array of His followers, as they respond to His missionary call to leave everything familiar and comfortable behind in order to make Him known to all people, regardless of where they live on planet earth.
And yet, as diverse His missionary force is, the following seven indicators of the missionary call are almost always united in the lives of those who hear and obey the Lord to go.
Called people have a God-generated passion to participate in His global purposes.
They spend time in His presence and His word reveals afresh the depth of His love for all people. This results in a hunger to have a role in making Him known to all people —and they are now open to Him calling them to do so.
Called people are an integral part of their local church.
People on God’s mission don’t just attend one or more of their church’s services, they are actively serving, and building real relationships. They are engaged with those who oversee them, those who serve alongside them, and those who they are serving.
Called people have an unquenchable thirst for anything missions-related.
They seek out information on the missionaries their church supports, they read missionary biographies, and seek out opportunities to meet with current or former missionaries.
Called people view the ethnic make-up of their own community biblically.
They see those that live in their community who come from other countries, languages, cultures, and religions, as precious gifts sovereignly placed there by Him and they intentionally engage in various ways of reaching them with His love and truth for His glory and their ultimate good.
Called people have hearts provoked to pray on a global scale.
A passion to pray privately and publicly at various prayer gatherings for the lost among the nations will be evident. Called people will regularly lift up the needs of missionaries to the Lord as well as those they serve among.
Called people freely and joyfully give financially to expand His kingdom globally.
Hopefully a portion of the tithes they give to their local church are used to fund global missions, and yet future missionaries also have discovered the joy found in sacrificially giving over and above their tithes by giving directly to the missions He has placed on their hearts.
Called people seize opportunities to build relationships with unbelievers.
They understand that the gospel is more likely to be received and obeyed by someone they have developed a meaningful relationship with. They recognize other believers will be more likely to pray for and support them if they are already doing here what they say God may be calling them to do on the mission field.
There are numerous other indicators of a missionary calling, but if these seven points are present in a person’s life, the confirmation of the calling may not be far behind. In missions, just like so many other aspects of His creation, His glory is uniquely displayed through His ability to bring unity from incredible diversity.
Jeff Jackson is the founder of Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators and currently is the director of Church Relationships and Missionary Care. Jeff previously served with his family church planting in the central Philippines and planted churches in the United States.