Not everyone is called to be a missionary. Although Jesus’ Great Commission (Matt 18:16-20) applies to everyone, how it’s outworked can look dramatically different. For most people it means settling down and leading a quiet life as instructed by Paul (1 Thes 4:11 & 2 Thes 3:12). It means to bring the gospel to your friends, family and surrounding community.

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11

The Great Commission was given primarily to the disciples back in early AD. Although this commission applies to the believer in a general sense it doesn’t mean Jesus was specifically calling us to walk to India like the Apostle Thomas.

I’ve been involved in extensive short term mission trips for the duration of my adult life and can assure you that some people simply aren’t built for the mission field. It would be a whole lot better for them (and the mission field) if they stayed at home, sponged on Netflix and simply sponsored a child from the comfort of their couch.

This is good news for many people who feel they are betraying Christ because they want to stay home and raise a family or work a job. Perhaps that is what God is calling you to do?

If someone is called to be a missionary in either a long term or short term capacity then I believe it will be apparent. From a young age I couldn’t put down books about David Livingstone, George Müller and William Carey. Their adventures plagued my daydreams to the point that my schooling suffered. I could care less about maths equations yet on the other hand I would spend days reading my Geography textbooks.

So how do you know if you have the missions gifting? I’ve correlated a list of values I believe are dear to a typical missionary lifestyle. A lecturer once told me that when people are presented with the reality of missions they will either run towards or away from it. What about you?

Are You A Missionary?

1 Love People

A missionary is someone who loves the people and whom the people love. If people irritate you then you may want to change your career path. Working with people, learning their culture, understanding their language and living amongst them is part of the missionary lifestyle.

When I’m on a mission trip I understand that the success of the trip is dependant on forming a good relationship with those who I am ministering to. If I build a new well but the locals hate me I’ve not accomplished anything of great worth.

2 Embrace Change

A missionary lifestyle requires great degrees of flexibility. You may have to kiss goodbye to routine and regularity for a while. Who knows where you’ll be sleeping, what you’ll be eating and if you will be alive by the end of it all. As many missionaries know – plans change daily.

My best moments on the mission field occur when my plans fall out the window. Sometimes it’s due to persecution and sometimes it’s because Gods got other ideas up his sleeve.

On one trip to Vanuatu our contact person never showed up at the airport so we spent the remainder of our trip on a miraculous adventure trusting God for accommodation, finances and ministry opportunities (one of my favourite trips to date).

3 Accept Adventure

Adventure is defined as an unusual and exciting or daring experience. It’s strongly associated with risk and danger and involves high degrees of change, usually for the worse; Finances get tighter, resources are thin and persecution is probable. I once heard someone say “A good adventure is when things go wrong but you have a good attitude about it.”

I love to live life as an adventure and even after becoming a husband and father I’ve found my desire for risk has not subsided. Apparently it was supposed to. Now I look forward to introducing my family into the adventure of serving Christ!

4 Rise to the Challenge

We all love a good challenge when we’re bound to win. What about when you haven’t slept well, or have an empty stomach, or the vomiting bug? Are you still willing to lead a church service, dig a well, play with kids or minister to people?

One one trip I got so sick that I wanted to go home after the second week. I hated everything about the place I was in but unfortunately I was a three day boat ride from the airport. I rose to the challenge and soon recovered. I believe it was a test of my willingness. Had I wallowed in self pity I may not be writing a post on missions today.

5 Develop a Dependance on God

Being a missionary often involves times of isolation and loneliness. Although you are surrounded by people you can miss the familiarity of home, making it hard to feel understood by those around you. Everything feels unfamiliar and you have no creature comforts. It’s at times like this you will learn a new level of dependence on God, not a materialistic dependence but an emotional and spiritual one. For this I am most grateful.

Missions will force you into a greater love and appreciation of God which is perhaps why I love it the most. In my own strength I would fail time and time again, but learning to be utterly dependant on Him for my well being has produced foundations in my faith that will outlast my lifetime.

Disclaimer: The above list is only my opinion and God has a habit of working outside the box, so please don’t base your future on this! My aim is to release people of a burden to missions work, yet release a passion to those who are called. Whatever the case we’re all called to make Jesus famous in our local community!

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