The Missionary Call

“To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.”

William Carey

We are all commanded to Go and Tell but it is the “to whom” and “to where” that we have to answer.

Nik Ripken writes in his book The Insanity of Obedience that “Our conversations about call should be focused on where we have been called rather than on if we have been called. This question should be settled at the very beginning of our walk with Jesus. We have been called to radical obedience.”

Common tools God uses to awaken our hearts to obey His call:

1) Scripture

God reveals Himself to man through His Word, therefore we can’t expect to hear from Him or know His will or our calling apart from His Word. We must know the word of God and meditate on His word. Meditation is the discipline of pondering. Not to empty our minds for the purpose of focusing on “nothingness” as pagan meditation aims for, but to fill them with intentional thoughts of Him and His Word.

“The more you know God, the more you can hear God.” Priscilla Shirer

2) Prayer

We must spend time in prayer and learn how to be quiet before the Lord in order to hear His voice.  One of the most common reasons we don’t hear from God is perhaps the most obvious: We’re not listening. Prayer takes time and discipline and, until we intentionally discipline ourselves to be still and listen, we’ll miss his will

“A profitable prayer life is impossible without solitude, but it’s also impossible without God’s Word.” Tim Keller

Pray for the needs of the world. Find a good resource like Operation World and begin praying for peoples of the world.

Pray for God to use you to the fullest for his glory. Our gifts are for others and for God’s glory.

3) The Counsel of Mature Believers

God has put you in a community of believers that should know you and your spiritual gifts, talents, training, & experience. Seek counsel from these mature believers and look for affirmation of your call through the body of Christ. (see 2 Timothy 1:5-7)

4) Missionary biographies, books, blogs, or go hear a missionary speak

We need to remember our spiritual leaders and follow their examples. We can learn about God’s guidance by seeing how he led people in the past. We need to observe the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith.

5) Keep a journal

Keep track of what God is teaching you. Also keep track of circumstances/opportunities around you that may be leading you towards a call to missionary service.

Write down a list of things that would hinder you from being able to immediately GO- ask God to take care of this list and write down when He answers those prayers.

6) Go on a short term mission trip.

7) Serve in your local church

You need the experience on this side of the ocean when you are in your own culture/using English. Nothing magical happens when you get on a plane. You are still the same person- if you are not spending time with people and sharing the gospel here, it won’t happen there either!

Nik Ripken writes that, “Crossing the street might be much harder than going to the ends of the earth! And only the power of God can transform our hearts.”

8) A willingness to obey

You can’t put conditions on where you are willing to go or what God may ask you to do. Have you given God ALL of you and All of what you have? (Luke 14:26-27,33)

Are you willing to give up everything? Some costs you can anticipate but some you can’t.

  • No matter where you go, you will have to give up comfort.
  • You will give up community, friendships, relationships, & identity.
  • Sometimes it will cost you your spiritual health.
  • Most likely you will live where there is political instability.
  • You may give up good medical care and deal with crime and safety issues.
  • Are you willing to lose a family member? Or know that your family is suffering because of choices you’ve made?

*We sometimes think that we only count the cost once, but it is important to remember that following Jesus means dying daily to our selves.

God does not promise us clarity; however, when the Lord begins to confirm his will and your call – DO NOT ask God for more! Anything beyond God’s confirmation is not faith. We must be willing to step out in faith and trust God even when we can’t see the future. Our moments of confirmation are crucial when the difficult times come- when you doubt what the Lord had clearly shown you. Just remember that when the hard times come – and they WILL come: your calling will serve as an anchor and keep you serving faithfully.

“We sometimes think that calling means we must be famous for Jesus. Calling is simply a submission to the Caller.” Rebekah Lyons

Lesley Hildreth Contributor
Lesley Hildreth is the Director of Women’s Discipleship at the Summit Church. She has been married for 25 years to Scott Hildreth, the Director of the Great Commission Studies at SEBTS. They have two children Rachel (22) and Jacob (21). Lesley is also a student and pursuing an MA in Christian Studies and one of her greatest desires is to see the nations come to Christ and finds it a true honor and blessing to be a part of equipping and encouraging women to GO!
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