Missions 101: Part 1 – What are the steps that lead to a person becoming a missionary?
First, God works in an individual’s heart about being a missionary.
Because it is God’s will is that we reach the world with the gospel, He is going to work in the heart of many people to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Our lack of missionaries can be attributed not to God’s failure to call but our failure to listen.
But, as a person falls in love with the Lord, he will want what God wants. Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
God will cause certain individuals to want to serve Him as missionaries (1 Timothy 3:1, Philippians 2:13). This does not mean that there will be no fear or reservations, but it does mean that God stir up the hearts of many individuals who are open to the Lord’s will to want to serve as missionaries.
Are you available and willing to do whatever God wants, even it if means going to the mission field?
Second, the individual surrenders himself to the Lord’s will and direction.
This step and the one above are almost synonymous. It is hard to determine which happens first, the work of God in us or the surrender to His will. God’s wants us to surrender to His will and be willing to serve Him. Many do not know God’s will because they have never surrendered.
Isaiah just volunteered when he heard God’s plea. Isaiah 6:8-9 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people…
Jesus told us that we will know the doctrine or the truth when we are willing to do His will. John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Have you surrendered yourself to the Lord for His will and direction? Are you really willing to go anywhere He might send you and do anything He might ask of you?
Third, God uses His Word, inner desires, confirmation by others, outward circumstances, and an inner peace from the Holy Spirit to confirm His plan.
Every desire in our heart should go through a testing time to make sure that it is of God.
1 John 4:4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
The confirmation of God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will never lead us to do something contrary to the Word of God. The Word of God gives certain requirements for those who desire the office of a bishop.
The confirmation of a continual desire. In 1 Corinthians 9:16-17, Paul talked about the the great burden he had to preach. In Jeremiah 12:9, Jeremiah talked about he could not be silent; he had to preach.
The confirmation of others. God will often confirm His will for us through the wisdom of others. Barnabas asked Paul to come help him (Acts 11:25). Paul asked Timothy to go with him (Acts 16:1-3) God will speak to local church about those that feel God is calling them to go out (Acts 13:1-4)
The confirmation of circumstances and open doors. Paul often talked about doors being opened to him (1 Corinthians 16:8-9). These doors were not free from adversaries, but he clearly saw them as coming from God (2 Corinthians 2:12).
The confirmation of an inner peace from the Holy Spirit about the next step. In Acts 16:6-10, Paul after much deliberation and praying, “assuredly gathered” the Lord’s will. Psalm 37:23 tells us that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. God not only guides our life, but He also will guide each step of our way as we trust and follow Him.
Fourth, the individual gains the necessary missions training.
In missions, the what is more important than the where. Just because a person wants to be a missionary does not mean they are ready to go.
Actually, before Paul became a missionary, he was: saved (Acts 9:5), had surrendered (Acts 9:6), was called (Acts 9:15-17), and gained much experience.
Before he went as a missionary, he had already preached in the synagogues (Acts 9:20), matured in his preaching (Acts 9:22), grown in his relationship with the church (Acts 9:27-28), spoken boldly in the name of Jesus (Acts 9:29), proved his ministry at Antioch (Acts 11:25-26), trained others (Acts 13:1), and gained the approval of the entire church (Acts 13:2-3).
Before a person becomes a missionary, they should be trained in theology; have experience in evangelism, discipleship, and various church ministries; know how to baptize and conduct the Lord’s supper; and have experience preaching and teaching.
Fifth, they select a country or region to go to.
This decision should be based upon: 1) the need and work being done there, 2) careful prayer and research, 3) their interest, abilities, and desires, and 4) and how God works in their life and opens doors.
Sixth, they choose a sending church and mission board.
The sending church is very important because it will be the model for their mission work, the support network, and the accountability structure for their ministry.
A mission board, though not essential, should act to assist the sending church with the finances and practical issues of getting the missionary to the field.