How do I know if God is calling me to be a missionary?
Spiritual communication for the Christian must come first through the Word of God, the Bible. Circumstances will vary from one person to another. One may learn about needy people in the Himalayas; a best friend may announce that he or she has been called to go to the Arctic; some may have been greatly challenged through a missionary testimony from the Amazon; others have read of how the Lord used the Judsons in Burma; or one may be tremendously convicted and influenced by a life-changing sermon. All of these are simply spiritual seeds that God plants in our hearts; but they are not, by definition, a call.
Acts 13:1-4 gives us some important principles for the call to missions in the local church.
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
From this, we can determine five things about the call of God to missions:
- The Holy Spirit of God only calls saved people.
- He calls those who are members of local New Testament churches.
- He calls those who are already faithfully living for and serving the Lord.
- The calling is confirmed through the church by prayer and fasting of all involved -- and will most definitely be confirmed by Scripture.
- The calling is fulfilled by the missionary being jointly sent forth by the Holy Spirit and the local church.
We firmly believe that one must see these key principles in action in a believer, no matter what age, in order to recognize the call of God to missions.
How can I prepare my heart for missionary service?
Acts 9 gives a very challenging outline for missionary preparation. Read through and meditate upon this account of Paul’s conversion, calling, and early preparation.
We believe the Holy Spirit will help you to learn and grow as you serve Him now and in the future.
Immediately at his salvation, Paul yielded himself to anything, that is absolutely anything that the Lord would have him to do.
Acts 9:6 says, And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
- Paul followed even the smallest and most basic instructions from the Lord. Determine to be obedient to the Lord in every area of life, no matter how great or how small.
- Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts from the moment we are saved; Ephesians 5:18 commands us to be filled with the Spirit. Question: Are you filled with the Holy Spirit of God?
- Paul was baptized and joined himself with other believers. Be sure that you have been Biblically baptized and are a faithful and serving member of a local New Testament Baptist Church.
- Paul was a faithful witness of Jesus Christ from the time of his salvation. In Acts 9, the Holy Spirit describes his first attempts at witnessing: he preached Christ, confounded the Jews, preached boldly, and he disputed against the Grecians. Oh, that we would testify what we know of Jesus and what He has done for us in such a powerful way!
Certainly, these basic Bible truths will help you to prepare your heart for missionary service... anywhere the Lord may lead.
What does a missionary need most in order to go to the mission field?
Through the years, we have been challenged by the missions writings of J. Herbert Kane. Kane was a very insightful missions professor and preacher. Much of what he wrote still applies today.
The following five areas listed by Kane are most-needed by those seeking to go to a mission field.
- Open Mind – Philippians 2:5 says, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. The Lord wants missionaries to be totally surrendered to Him. This starts in our hearts and minds. Open-mindedness is NOT a “whatever will be, will be” attitude. Nor is it the “everything is relative” thinking of the post-modernists. Exercise your mind to be a “ready vessel” in the hands of the Potter.
- Attentive Ear – James 1:19 says, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. Listening begins with the training of the mind, heart, and ear. Spend time daily in training your ear to listen to and for the still, small voice of the Lord in His Word. Do not allow yourself to make up what you think you hear God saying… train yourself to yearn for the slightest whisper of the Holy Spirit.
- Pure Heart – Matthew 5:8 tells us, Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Salvation makes one pure in heart before the Lord. Walking in the Spirit daily, makes one pure in heart before others. Let your heart's desire be to “see God” working and accomplishing His will in your life right now.
- Busy Hands – John 9:4 says, I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. These are the words of the Lord Jesus! He believed in and practiced working every day. Work to please God, work to reach the lost, work to rescue souls from the very edge of Hell!
- Ready Feet – In Acts 8, the Holy Spirit instructs Philip to go and meet the Ethiopian eunuch. Acts 8:30 says, And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? Here is a man with ready feet. When was the last time, if ever, that you ran to a lost person when prompted by the Holy Spirit? May we stand ashamed at our laziness and lethargy in reaching the lost!
We believe what we need first and foremost is praying knees! Praying knees will result in an open mind, an attentive ear, a pure heart, busy hands, and ready feet.
Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest!
How can I prepare myself for missionary service?
Here are 10 practical areas that will aid in preparing for missionary service:
- Be a soulwinner – the old adage is true: “If you are not being a faithful witness here at home, you will not be a faithful witness in the uttermost!”
- Disciple other people – check yourself… especially if you are “busy” in the ministry currently, be sure you are working with new converts and those who may be struggling in their Christian walk. Teaching them to observe all things is as important as Be ye witnesses unto me…
- Become a student of the Acts of the Apostles and the church epistles. Missions according to the Bible is what you want to be doing. Do not settle for anything else!
- Become a prayer warrior for the missionaries supported by your home church. In addition, pray regularly for creative access countries and unreached people groups. Learn from websites like Operation World, the Joshua Project, and Voice of the Martyrs. Your eye will affect your heart, and your prayers will affect your heart even more.
- Become a reader of missionary biographies, missionary history, missionary practices, and the indigenous principle. Sit down right now and write out the titles of the 10 best missionary books you have ever read. If you can only list one or two, get busy! The Lord will bless you in many ways with your investment.
- Contact current missionaries and learn from them through a concise list of very serious questions. Be sure you are not wasting their time. When you personally approach a missionary, determine that you are going to listen and not distract by dominating the conversation yourself.
- Be a giver! Find ways to give above and beyond your tithe and your local church needs. If your church is not involved in Faith Promise Missions Giving, give in other ways. Help missionaries with one-time gifts (be sure to first check with your pastor), send birthday cards to missionary children, slip a bit of cash in the missionary’s hand to help with fuel.
- Learn missionary hymns, songs, and choruses. Learn to sing, play musical instruments, and be prepared to teach music that you have learned… pass it on!
- Become a giver of tracts. Search out resources in order to obtain varieties of tracts and tracts in different languages. Check out our LINKS to Fellowship Tract League and Bible Tracts International.
- Work on toughening your physical being. Lose excess weight, eat a balanced diet, periodically fast. From time to time, seek to live without all of the comforts of home; sleep on the floor or on the ground at different times, shower or wash up with cold water and/or using very small quantities, etc. (These will also give you an appreciation for all that you have.) I keep my body under…
This list may seem daunting to some, but each item is well worth any effort in preparing for missionary service.
What are some good books about missions?
In answer to the question above, one is challenged to become a reader of missionary biographies, missionary history, missionary practices, and the indigenous principle.
The challenge continues, "Sit down right now and write out the titles of the 10 best missionary books you have ever read. If you can only list one or two, get busy! The Lord will bless you in many ways with your investment."
We invite you to look through and read books from A Reading List for Missions.
What is the purpose of deputation?
Dr. Ernest Gambrell, in his book An Effective Deputation Ministry, puts forth that deputation for the missionary has the two-fold purpose of being a ministry and of being a school.
First, deputation is a ministry. It is a time of expanded opportunities of service for the missionary family. As they travel, they are called upon to minister in Church Services, Sunday School, Children's Church, Christian Schools, Camps, Vacation Bible Schools, Teen Rallies, Nursing Homes, Prisons, Door-to-Door outreach, as well as in the homes of their host families. Just as our Chief Servant left Home to minister throughout this world, so the missionary follows His example.
Second, deputation is a school; and the missionary must be a student. Deputation has a way of being a very challenging teacher, so the student must determine to learn and master every lesson set before him or her. Just like in the Lord’s earthly ministry, the lessons taught are primarily about relationships with different types of people. Realize that every vehicle problem, every meeting cancellation, every detour, and thus every encounter with people inside and outside of a church is a classroom for the missionary, a salvation opportunity for the lost, and an exhortation opportunity for the saved. Never think that you have mastered any subject… continue learning.
A deputy in law enforcement is very similar in purpose to a missionary deputy.
- Both require an appointment by those over them. The missionary deputy is seeking for a Divine appointment to serve through and be sent forth by local churches.
- The missionary deputy acts only under the God-given authority of the local church. That authority is absolutely necessary in order to establish local churches in other lands. Remember… churches plant churches!
- The missionary deputy is to fulfill the activity of the church, just as the deputy sheriff is to fulfill the activity of the sheriff. Neither deputy is appointed to do their own thing. NO!
Deputation prepares the missionary deputy in the proper appointment, authority, and activity. Study, learn, and follow these Biblical and practical purposes for missionary service.