He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012 

Don't Complicate the Missionary Call

The following article is written by David Sitton, a dear friend of the FAI family. It was included as an Appendix in Dalton Thomas’ book Unto Death. David is the founder of To Every Tribe and the Center for Pioneer Church Planting.
I chuckle when I hear missionaries say they “surrendered to the call” of ministry. I always want to ask, “After you surrendered, were you waterboarded, or just hauled off in handcuffs and leg irons?” Was it really necessary for you to be abducted by a heavenly vision before you would go joyfully into the work of the Gospel in unreached places?

The missionary call is not like a prison dog that tracks us down, sniffs us out, and hog-ties us for the nations. That kind of talk bugs me! It’s bad theology. Nowhere in Scripture is a “mysterious (supernatural) call” a prerequisite before we can respond to the Great Commission.  The opposite is actually true.

Don’t Wait for a Call
No aspect of mission is more bogged down with extra-biblical baggage than the “Missionary Call.” The clear command of Christ “to go” should be, by itself, sufficient to set you on your way to unreached regions.
You can’t go wrong by trying to go. Be aggressive to go. The Lord will direct your moving feet.
Do you know how 99% of the cross-cultural workers for the Gospel in the book of Acts got to the unreached places? In a detailed missiological study of the book of Acts, Bob Sjogren breaks it down for us.
- 99% of the missionaries in Acts went cross-cultural because of one reason: Persecution.
What about the other 1%?
- 74% served cross-culturally because the apostle Paul challenged them to go.
- 18% went because their local churches sent them.
- 7% went simply because of their zeal and desire to do it![1]
Dramatic calls to ministry are the exception. If you have it in your heart to go, then go. And lean on the sovereignty of God to get you where He wants you in the harvest.
Try to Go

Paul tried to go into Asia, but the Lord wouldn’t let him. He then tried to go to Bithynia, but “the Holy Spirit forbade him.” Still, he kept trying to go. I count at least six cities in Acts 16:1-6 where Paul tried to take the Gospel. It was only then that the Lord gave him a vision of the Macedonian. He woke up the next morning and immediately headed for the regions north. The point? Get radical with the going and God will get radical in the specific guiding.
I was never called to be a missionary. I wasn’t drafted. I volunteered. No special call was needed. I chose to go. I want to go. I am compelled to go. Where I go is determined by an open Bible (Romans 15:20-21) and a stretched-out map of unreached regions where Jesus isn’t known.  Going for Jesus and with Jesus to the ends of the Earth is the privilege of a lifetime.

[1] Bill and Amy Stearns, Run With The Vision, (Bethany House Publishers), 125-126.

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