When I was in seventh grade, I took a short-term mission trip to the Mexican-Texas border. From that time on, I knew God was calling me to be a missionary. The question for a lot of Christians is “How do I know God is calling me specifically into missions?”
A General Calling
In one way, each Christian is called to play some part in missions, whether that is through prayer, support, or going. Jesus said in Matthew 28:16-20, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This is God’s general command. It is up to each Christian to determine what God would have them take part in.
What is a God Calling?
“Calling” is a vague word. It usually isn’t a voice from God telling you to go in a certain direction, though that may happen. According to one pastor, God gives each of us a compulsion and determination for something (also known as a “calling”). We’re to test our passion against Scripture, since God’s call will never contradict what He says in the Bible. If it lines up with Scripture, then let nothing stop you from fulfilling the passion God has given you.
Is There a Specific Call to Missions?
There are ways to know whether God is calling you to missions. The first one is, of course, passion and Scripture, as in every other call. Yet, the call to missions goes even further than your passion.
Jack Voelkel, missionary-in-residence with Urbana said, “The better we come to know [God,] the more we will understand what pleases Him. We will appreciate more and more his love for each individual and His longing for all peoples to know Him, serve Him, and enjoy His blessings. At the same time, we discover that He pushes us to grow in faith and will give us opportunities to obey Him.”
It is through spending time with the Lord that we come to know His heart.
Another way of knowing whether the Lord is calling you to be a missionary is through experience both at home and through short-term missions. For me, it was a specific moment at the end of a mission trip that I knew God was calling me to missions. From that time on, my passion and focus was to be a missionary. Everything I did was evaluated in the light of my calling.
Bethany Global University says, “Before thinking about going out full time, get some short-term, cross-cultural experiences under your belt and better yet, mission training. Where you serve short term may or may not be an indicator of where God wants to send you long term. Be open to his leading.”
At first, I thought I would be a missionary serving in Mexico, yet after reading Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan, I knew God wanted me to serve Asia in a different way.
This passion to serve in Asia keeps growing in me even as I serve them., my passion continues to grow, so does my burden to share God’s love to those in Asia. I believe it will be the same for anyone who is called to missions. Usually, they keep on thinking about God’s call, and that consumes their life until they are called somewhere else.
We may not all be called to mission work, but each of us has a general calling to be part of missions in some way. Christ has given us a clear command to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations.