How to get started if you feel called to ‘grand global mission’comment (0)
March 28, 2013
By Grace Thornton
"It’s hard to go back to normal after this.”
A man said that to Pastor Bill Brown as he walked out of Beulah Baptist Church, Muscadine, in Cleburne Baptist Association on a recent Sunday morning.
Brown had just given a charge to live life as Jesus Christ asked His followers to live it — to be “a real Christian.”
And that, he said, means making disciples at home and around the world.
“Real Christians can’t just tack church and Jesus onto their lives. He has to be their whole life and be in charge of all of it,” Brown said to the church March 10 during the church’s missions emphasis month. “What that means is we live every aspect of our lives for Him. What that means is we do what He told us to do, and we make disciples. And that means we can’t keep the gospel to ourselves.”
The man who responded at Beulah Baptist isn’t the only one sensing a pull to live a different kind of life. People all across Alabama and the United States are expressing a desire to live a life of disciple making, whether that be in North America or in an overseas context, and are seeking to be equipped in carrying that out.
More than 100,000 participated in a Multiply gathering in November hosted by The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, and simulcast nationwide to equip Christ followers to share their faith and disciple others to follow Jesus, too.
David Platt, Brook Hills’ senior pastor, said during the event, “Look back at the moments when the gospel has advanced most rapidly, and you’ll see that it was when the whole church got a hold of each individual’s responsibility to be a disciple and make disciples. We are all to be involved in a grand global mission.”
Al Jackson, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church, Auburn, said it’s “a pastor’s delight” when a church member says he or she is feeling led toward missions work.
When the person asks him for advice on what to do next, Jackson plans a time to sit down and talk and “develop a personal plan for them to move from where they are to where God wants them to be.”
The first thing that is essential, he said, is to “maintain a very close walk with Jesus Christ.”
Prayer, fasting, Bible reading, Scripture memory and service all have to be functioning well and adding up to a vibrant life of faith, he said.
“If you miss that one, all my other suggestions are moot,” Jackson said.
But if that one’s in place, his next suggestion is to get a passport.
“Go on a missions trip as soon as possible and get some cross-cultural experience,” Jackson said.
These days, there are lots of ways to go, he said. (See stories, page 6.)
“Go for a week, go for a summer, go for a semester. See for yourself what it is like to serve in an overseas context,” he said.
Jackson also encourages folks to read missionary biographies — William Carey, Lottie Moon, Adoniram Judson and other heroes.
“That will put fuel on the fire,” Jackson said.
He also recommends reading John Piper’s “Let the Nations Be Glad,” as well as “Operation World,” which gives guidance on how to pray through all the nations of the world in a year.
“Take it seriously,” Jackson said. “Read up. Read ‘Operation World.’ Adopt a people group. Get a map on the wall and see it often. Get involved in cross-cultural ministry right where you are.”
And then, he said, take the next step toward following God to spread the gospel in an overseas context.
What are some practical ways to take the next step? See the other stories on pages 6–7 for information on disciple making and avenues to serve on a short- or long-term basis in a missions context.
Where do I begin?
1. Start with your church.
Meet with your church leadership. They can help affirm and explore your call with you. Al Jackson, pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church, Auburn, said the first thing he does when a member expresses a desire to go overseas is schedule a time to sit down and talk about it. Your church will be your primary support and sender as you prepare and explore different avenues for overseas service.
2. Go on a missions trip.
Sign up for a trip your church has planned to take the gospel overseas and to get your feet wet in cross-cultural work. If your church doesn’t have a trip planned, contact your association or the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, which can connect you with a team through Alabama Acts 1:8 Connections. For more information, visit www.alsbom.org/ministries/global-missions/alabama-acts-18-connections.
3. Consider your personal options.
Do you have a skill that would allow you to go overseas without the financial support of a missions-sending organization? Will your business allow you a transfer to an international office, or can you do an exchange program through the school or university where you teach? Can you get a job as a doctor or nurse or engineer in another country?
If any of these options are available to you, they often offer access to countries and people that “missionaries” have trouble getting to. The IMB’s Marketplace Advance initiative can offer team support, training and mentoring for you if you are interested in going overseas to make disciples in this way. (See story, page 7.)
4. Consider partnering with an organization.
There is a wide variety of organizations with teams in place overseas and a number of ways you can get plugged in. A few options are:
- International Mission Board (IMB)
The IMB is the missions-sending agency of the Southern Baptist Convention and has nearly 5,000 representatives on the field. Thanks to the support of Southern Baptists, it offers full financial support for those it sends overseas, with the exception of retirement-age applicants (age 50 plus), who receive partial funding.
More than half of the current long-term jobs are for church planters or strategists — those who find ways to start a new work among an unengaged, unreached people group. Other needs range from media and accounting professionals to agriculturalists.
For more information, visit going.imb.org.
To make initial contact with the IMB about the possibility of future service, visit https://secure.imb.org/InfoForm and click on “Create new form.”
To speak with an IMB consultant or to ask questions about overseas missions service, call 1-800-999-3113,
Pioneers is a Christian organization that “mobilizes teams to glorify God among unreached peoples by initiating church-planting movements in partnership with local churches.”
That task can “look a thousand different ways depending on the country and people group you’re working with,” said Jillian Combs, Pioneers director of recruitment. It ranges from orphan care to IT work among the upper class.
The organization seeks to mobilize people with a variety of skill sets who have a heart for church planting to join Pioneers’ approximately 2,600 representatives on the field.
For more information or to make contact with a missions mentor, call 407-382-6000 or visit pioneers.org.
- Samaritan’s Purse
An evangelical Christian organization that works in “crisis areas of the world,” Samaritan’s Purse offers opportunities to get involved in projects from construction to feeding to livestock to medical ministry.
To browse a list of projects and open positions, or for more information, visit www.samaritanspurse.org.
Crossworld is an organization focusing on discipleship and offering a variety of assignment length options from a short-term missions trip to a long-term career. They are looking for a variety of skill sets ranging from business professionals to teachers to football players to graphic designers.
For more information or to browse available opportunities, visit www.crossworld.org/go.
(Compiled from various sources)
How can I prepare?
Experience. Go on an overseas volunteer trip. Be involved in missions projects locally.
Learn about the nations. Do research on people groups. Pray. Become involved in ministry to internationals in the U.S. or abroad. Many have found English as a Second Language training and experience to be very helpful.
Discipleship. Look for opportunities to learn more about discipleship. Be a disciple maker in your everyday life right where you are.
Evangelism training. The primary role of a missionary is to share Christ, leading people to make a commitment to Christ. Be trained in how to better share your faith and then put it into practice in your daily life.
Education. If needed, begin working on your college and seminary requirements. You may want to begin working on some biblical, missiological and theological training.
Stewardship. Be a good steward of your financial resources. A missions-sending organization may have a debt limit. (The International Mission Board, for example, does.)
Physical health. Live a healthy lifestyle. This prepares you for any health requirements.
(Source: International Mission Board)