Three Ways to Develop a Greater Love for Missions
I have always admired people who gave up everything to serve a greater cause. Before I was a believer my admiration was more of an idolization of anyone in the armed forces. I wanted to be them, to plunge into the unknown to serve and protect. I still have a great respect for men and women who serve our country selflessly, but I now understand that there is an even greater cause to serve.
As I have grown in my knowledge of God and the incomprehensible work of salvation that was done within me, I have consequently grown in my respect for men and women that selflessly go and serve Jesus Christ by sharing the Gospel around the world. However, it wasn’t only from reading my Bible in my room that has given me this love and respect for missionaries.
I will share with you how that passion grew in me, but first, let’s define missions.
Missions is the sending out of a missionary into another culture to evangelize, plant churches and/or train up pastors/church planters within that culture.
Missionaries around the world depend heavily on support from the Church. Our prayers, encouragement, money, and resources allow them to do the work God has called them to do. Sure, we can donate money to any good cause, but when our hearts and minds have a greater understanding of God’s purposes in the world, our support is richer and more blessed.
Here are 3 ways that your hearts and minds can grow in love and respect for missionaries.
God’s Word Mandates Missions
Read the New Testament from the perspective that missions is commanded, encouraged and supported!
Let’s look closer at some examples. (all emphasis within the Scriptures has been added by me)
The Great Commission given by Jesus is the verse that most Christians will immediately cite regarding missions. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.””
Romans 10:13-14 “for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”
Acts 13:2-3 “While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
In 1Timothy and Titus, Paul gives the qualifications for elders and deacons which is vital for any church plant in any culture to understand and establish.
The book of Titus is written to a missionary in Crete, helping new churches and training up men to shepherd the flocks God has given them.
Not all Christians will be called onto the mission field; however, all Christians should support missionaries. It’s very similar to adoption. Not all will adopt but we should all support adoption.
Our God is a God passionate about missions! It is HIS plan of redemption that we are sharing.
Get in the Trenches with Missionaries of the Past
Read stories of historical missionaries. Oh, how you will be blessed! History has a way of drawing us in as it fills our minds with gripping, raw stories. We easily lose ourselves in a biography that releases us from the burdens of our own lives. This is a great thing! Putting our focus on a life that is much harder than our own enables us to better serve Christ.
There are many, many missionaries, both famous and unknown, that you could learn about. Here are the first four that came to my mind.
Hudson and Anne Taylor, Taylor founded China Inland Mission in 1865 on the premise that it would never solicit funds from donors but simply trust God to supply its needs. 132 years later, although the organization has changed its name to Overseas Missionary Fellowship [International], it has not changed this policy.
Amy Carmichael, missionary in India where she tirelessly and painfully (she suffered from chronic neuralgia) served the women and girls saving them from a life of prostitution and sacrifice to false gods. It was a talk given by Hudson Taylor that opened her eyes to serving on the mission field.
Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, missionaries in Ecuador to evangelize the Aucas tribe. Jim and 4 other men were killed by the Aucas but within 2 years Elisabeth was living with them! Many Aucas became Christians because of her passion for sharing the love of Christ. Elisabeth wrote dozens of books, any of which will dig deep into your heart and draw you nearer to the Lord.
C.T. Studd, a missionary to China, India, and Africa. He inherited a fortune and gave it all away to support mission work. C.T. never stopped doing the work of a missionary even when his health was beyond repair. He died in 1931 while serving in Africa, where his final word was “Hallelujah”!
Stories like these inspire us. For some readers, they are inspired to become more disciplined in their walk with the Lord, for others they are inspired to financially support missionaries or go into missions. Regardless of how we are moved it should be in a direction towards obedience to the Word of God.
Give Of Yourself
Meet, host, follow missionaries in the field right now.
If your church supports missionaries find out more about them! Get on their email lists, send them encouraging notes, plan a short-term mission trip to work with them or host them when they are on furlough.
I am a member of a new church that doesn’t yet have the means to financially support missionaries. One way my husband and I are keeping that passion for missions alive is by hosting missionaries in our home as they come through Texas. We are privileged to know several from the seminary my husband attended. We can serve them and pray for them now and one day soon, Lord willing, our church will be able to financially support them.
Don’t be afraid of hosting someone you’ve never met! We’ve done this before, too, and we were so blessed! You will gain so much more than you will give. (This is a great opportunity, ladies, to remind ourselves of 1Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint!)
Maybe your church needs you to teach them about the importance of missions. Do your research and send a proposal to your elders. Host a missionary book study with the women.
Contact a seminary with similar theological beliefs as your church and ask for a list of missionaries in need of support. Reach out to those missionaries and learn more about what they do. The more you learn and grow in your love for missions, the more it will spread to your church.
A great place to start cultivating that love for missionaries is reading their blogs. I am always convicted and filled with compassion after reading their ‘journals’. Recently I found Hare Translation Journey: Our Lives as Bible Translators in Cameroon, Africa. Missionary life humbles me!
We truly do live such privileged lives here in America and Canada. At this point we can freely worship the Creator, take our Bible with us anywhere and share the gospel without being imprisoned or killed. This freedom is not to be taken for granted! All around the world, missionaries are risking their lives in order that another life will be eternally saved. Pray for them!
It’s my earnest prayer that your heart will overflow with love for these saints and from that overflow will come prayers and support. The gospel must go forth and we can do so much more to ensure it is heard.