My wife Danielle and I went on our first short-term mission trip together about 12 years ago. That planted a seed that eventually grew into a decision we made seven years ago. We quit our jobs and moved to Thailand for several months to volunteer with some mission organizations.
Why would we do something crazy like that? We want to be a part of a missionary movement.
God is a missionary God, meaning He sent His own Son into this world.
I strongly believe if a person calls himself a Christian or a Christ follower, then they are a part of being sent or a missionary movement.
Danielle and I feel a constant tension about how to be a part of a missionary movement. We thought after our time of volunteering in Thailand that we were ready to be sent long-term. God revealed a slightly different plan, at least for now.
But there are other ways to be a part. If you do a little internet research you will find many books and articles written on this subject. So this list I share here is not entirely my own.
Read through this list to see what role(s) God has called you to fulfill.
I know a lot of you have gone on a short-term mission trip, but that is not what I am referring to here. A goer moves into a foreign context for at least two years. It takes at least that long to acclimate to the new context.
A goer is one that does not see his own culture as a “thing to grasp”. Instead, they take on the form of their new culture learning their language, nuances and context.
After six months in Thailand in 2007 we were ready to come back to the states, sell everything and move back for however long God wanted us there. We thought we were on our way in 2010 when God changed that plan.
A sender is someone who helps a goer go. It usually is with financial support. Many people help support financially each missionary on the field.
An interesting shift, with which I agree, is happening in regards who is sending who. For several decades a missionary was a westerner sent to a foreign country. Usually that person had a white face. Now more and more people from neighboring or similar cultures go.
A sender from the west can still help send a person living in a certain region or country, say India into Nepal. However, it costs a lot less to send someone like that than a Westerner.
Danielle and I have supported a few long-term missionaries or their projects over the past several years. For as long as God has us staying here in the states, I see us making this a priority.
This is a person who rallies the troops so to speak. Sometimes they are in that role because of a position they hold, such as, a missions pastor or part of a sending organization. But many times it is someone who is passionate about what God is doing around the world.
I have a few friends that fit this. One is my friend Brian and his wife Dawn. Brian constantly draws people’s attention to those who are sent, their projects, ways to give or get involved, etc.
We need those who consistently bring our attention back to what really matters.
Even though all who don’t go pray for those sent, some seem to be especially in tune to what God is seeking. Many times an intercessor wakes in the middle of the night with specific things set on their heart to pray for in regards to a brother or sister in the field.
I hadn’t heard this one until I did a little research for this post. However, with more internationals moving right here where we live either for school or a job, we can step into a role of one who befriends them.
Danielle taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for a few years. She had students from Japan, Korea, and Belgium.
We also partnered with a Chinese business man for a few months while he studied at UT.
Many of you have internationals living right next door. Most internationals living here have never been invited into an American’s home. You can change that.
This is one I have not seen anywhere, but I think it is critical. Those who go need people to buy into what they are doing. It might look like being a mentor, a financial investor or someone who regularly visits to help give the project a boost.
What role(s) do you have in a missionary movement? If you don’t have a role now, which one fits you?