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Are You Called to Missions?

What is missions?

Before deciding if you are called to missions, it is important to know what the meaning of the word is.

“The origin of the word ‘mission’ is the Latin word ‘missio,’ which means ‘to send.’ Traditionally, ‘missions’ has meant sending Christians across a geographical and/or cultural boundary to live among unreached people groups with the express purpose of sharing the gospel, making disciples, and planting churches.”  (Angelican Frontiers)

Over time, the word “missions” has taken on various forms.

In some ways, it has evolved into more of a lifestyle, wherein all christians wherever they are, can witness to the people and communities around them. 

However, we must also not forget that historically and by definition, to be called as a missionary entails being sent on a mission to share Christ, especially in a foreign country.

With that being said, regardless of where God leads you geographically, if you consider yourself one of His followers and disciples, you have a duty to share the gospel with others. We know this because the very last thing Jesus said to His disciples was to go and make disciples of all nations. In response to this command, His disciples went and shared the gospel of Jesus with many.

Matthew 28:19-20 says,

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Picture From Ywam Lancaster | Are You Called To Missions?

Being a Disciple

All believers have an invitation to live their lives as the disciples of Jesus did. To be a disciple is simple: Follow Jesus, His teachings, and His leadership. Act as a student, eager to learn the ways of God and do what He says. Regardless of if you consider yourself to be a missionary or not, following Jesus makes you a disciple of His.

For further information about what it means to be a disciple, read our blog post: What Does it Mean to Be A Disciple.

What kind of missions are you called to?

Perhaps, based off of how missions is viewed today, rather than asking if you are called to missions, you could ask the question:

What kind of missions am I called to?”

Where might God send you if you asked Him where you should go to reach the lost? Might He ask you to:

  • Stay where you are and live in a missional way in your familiar region?
  • Join a missional community of volunteers who train and go on short-term trips to other locations?
  • Give up everything you know to move to a foreign nation? 

God leads us in a variety of ways. Our job is to listen to what He asks of us and obey Him when He speaks. He loves to partner with us to bring people to Himself.

2 Corinthians 5:20 – “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Being sure of your call to missions

If you are unsure about making a commitment to the “missio” kind of missions (where you are sent out elsewhere), that’s okay. Like Peter in Matthew 14, the first step is often getting out of the boat and seeing what God will do next. So whatever it is that God is asking of you, go for it and trust Him to lead you the rest of the way.

As believers, we can often hesitate to take action because we seek to receive unmistakable signs from God. We naturally prefer the assurance that we’re following the right path because pleasing God is our heart’s desire. However, following God often requires taking a risk in what we believe Him to be speaking, even if we are still growing in hearing His voice.

From Disciples to Missionaries

As you read earlier, Jesus’ last words to His disciples were clear: 

“Go and make disciples.” Consider the thought that this command to His disciples at that point in time should still apply to us today, because we too are His disciples and the nations today still need to hear the gospel and be discipled. We have an invitation to go out and tell everyone about Him, just as they did. 

A famous quote from the legendary songwriter Keith Green goes, 

“If you don’t have a definite call to stay here, you are called to go.” 

Only someone who has encountered the love of Jesus for themselves and is gripped with a burden for the lost would go to the extent of challenging the church to live in such a way that Keith Green did. 

Did you know that:

According to these statistics, one could rightfully assume that there is a greater cry from the heart of God for His followers to lay down their lives and go to the unreached places of the world to bring the gospel message, rather than staying home. Why? One of the reasons, as you read above, is that there is a great need! Jesus touches on this need in Matthew 9:37, saying,

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

It would hurt the heart of God to watch the church withhold the blessing of the gospel from other nations around the world. In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham that He will bless him so that he can be a blessing to others. How beautiful would it be for the church to respond to God’s blessing with a desire to give to others? 

Matthew 10:8: “Freely you have received; freely give.”

Qualifications to be a missionary

You might believe that you are far from qualified for the job of this “missio” type of missions, but you can be encouraged that you are not left to do the job alone. 

In Acts 1:4, just before ascending to heaven, Jesus said one other very important thing to His disciples:

“Wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 

Further into the chapter He said, “‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Just as Jesus had said, the Holy Spirit showed up a few days later and encountered His disciples. So we see, He gave them the Holy spirit to be with them and guide them as they went out. He didn’t leave them alone on their new journey.

Having the Holy Spirit is what equips us to follow Jesus’ final command to make disciples. He is a consistent friend who lives in us, walks with us, and leads us. So between Jesus’ instructions and the Holy Spirit guiding us in the process, we can be confident enough to take a leap of faith and live missionally with God. 

For more information about what it takes to be qualified as a missionary, read Qualifications of A Missionary

Discerning Your Call to Missions

Reality is, the thought of missions can be intimidating. Most people living out on the mission field this very day started off living an ordinary life and probably had to choose to get up and go, leaving all fears behind them! When things get hard, it is the word of the Lord that will sustain us. 

And remember: God is with you, so there is no reason to be afraid!

How do you know if you’re called to short-term missions or long-term missions? 

The simple answer: Pray and ask God where and how He wants to lead you. Wait on His voice for clear direction. If you find it difficult to discern what He is saying, starting with a short-term trip could be a good first step. It can be difficult to discern what God is speaking at times; especially when asking Him big life questions! If you’d like to learn more about how to hear God’s voice, read How to Hear the Voice of God.

Pursuing Your Call to Missions

If you are interested in taking that first step and seeing if God could be calling you to the unreached, the Discipleship Training School (DTS) is the entry-level school for YWAM globally. This school is made up of two primary goals: To know God and to make Him known. 

In Phase One, you dive deep into all the things to know about relationship with God: His character and nature, how to hear His voice, and learning more about unreached people groups. Then, you get to take what you learned and actually go overseas to share with people living in those unreached places! Most often, the DTS outreach will include going to churches, schools, villages, and city streets! Many students have impacted the lives of numerous lost people through their DTS outreach. All it takes is five months of learning, growing, and going! 

YWAM Lancaster has target locations in the 10/40 window to which we regularly send short-term teams and will continue to do so. We have a heart to see those who have never heard of Jesus come to know Him. This can be achieved through both short-term and long-term trips! We aspire to establish ten long-term teams overseas within the next ten years and see those communities transformed by the Gospel. Part of the strategy to achieve this goal is sending young adults on short-term trips and guiding them in discovering where God could be leading them in the long run. Although DTS is not a commitment to missions eternally, it does provide a good opportunity to test the waters of living in another nation overseas.

For further information about DTS at YWAM Lancaster, check out: Discipleship Training School

You can also find helpful practical steps through reading our other blogs

In closing, it is important to note that every believer is called to some form of missions, whether it’s going, sending others, training others, mobilizing, or praying. We all have a part to play; it just requires a willingness in our hearts to go and time listening for God’s direction. 

A member of the discipleship training school teaching a child how to read the bible.

Transformation happens when a community of passionate Jesus followers, led by the Holy Spirit, all walk in their identity and calling.

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Join A DTS

The Discipleship Training School is for anyone wanting to be equipped for impact. Practical, personal, powerful, this 6-month intensive missions training will provide you with tools, focus, and real-life experience to fulfill the Great Commission.

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“… (DTS) showed me that this life isn’t just for me to live but to bring other people in this relationship with God.” 

– Kephas, 2016 DTS

“It was extremely encouraging in my walk with the Lord because my identity and calling were being solidified and called out.” 

– Kailey, 2016 DTS

“God has reminded, reaffirmed, and reoriented me in a number of areas. “Prioritizing” turns up the spiritual volume in your life.”

– David, 2016 DTS

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