This question comes up every time people hear about the challenges of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard it.
In one sense, every Christian is called to obey the command which Jesus gave to all disciples before He went back to the Father:
This command was not given to a select few only, or only to those who have an interest in missions. It's a basic instruction for every follower of Christ.
But there are many different ways in which believers are called to fulfil this commandment.
Go-ers, Pray-ers, Senders, Mobilizers
Some have a clear sense of calling to go, whether overseas or staying where they are, to reach out with the good news of Jesus to those who have not heard or not responded to the message.
Some have an equally clear calling and gifting to pray for those who go. Without prayer, the person who goes is unlikely to see any results. Transforming lives and communities is something only God can do, which is why prayer is so crucial.
Some have been blessed with the resources to be able to send people out into the harvest field. They can support financially, not only workers, but possibly also projects, and find the fulfilment of their calling in empowering others. They are partners in the work, and Paul's letters in the New Testament give us numerous examples of the crucial role these partners played in the spread of the gospel.
Others are mobilizers. This group is the least understood, yet today the most needful. The natural tendency of many is to get so busy with our daily lives and our career that we forget about the needs of the millions of poor and unreached peoples on our planet. Mobilizers find ways to remind fellow believers of the needs out there and they show the church how it can be involved in meeting those needs. They network, educate, train and exhort believers to obey the command given by Jesus in Matthew 28.
How do you know which role is for you?
Say to Him: Lord, here am I, send me, or use me. He will not fail to answer.
This process of discovery is a journey. In very rare cases it can be an emotion-charged crisis moment in which God's will is revealed to you as in a flash. But emotions are dangerous guides. A long-term commitment depends mainly on our will. Jesus warned of the need to count the cost before we undertake anything. Are we willing to pay the price?
The PTM for Missions and the Missions Committee are ready to help you along this journey and have some resources available for you.
For more background information on what a missionary really is and the importance of a clear call, see also: