Are We Really All Called to Engage in International Missions?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Since my youth, I have been taught about the importance of supporting missions and how we all play a significant role in advancing God’s Kingdom. Whether we are called to support missionaries in prayer and provision or go into the mission field ourselves, the Great Commission compels each of us to go and make disciples of all nations — emphasizing our need to engage in international missions.
Yet, how often do we as individuals focus our efforts on global missions? Most Christ followers are familiar with His Great Commission in Matthew 28, but perhaps we know it so well that we have become inoculated to the command, and it no longer affects our most practical plans. Are we so naïve to believe that this powerful command isn’t for each and every one of us? Isn’t every church, big or small, called to evangelize the world?
I believe God wants every church to participate in His world rescue plan.
Go, Disciple the Nations and Be the Example
Porter Barrington wrote, “‘Go’ implies that the church, as a company of believers, is to be active and aggressive in winning the lost ‘in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).’”
Some believe Acts 1:8 means a church’s disciple-making begins at home, in our local neighborhood and then moves outward to our city, our state, our nation and then crosses borders. Others believe a church should endeavor to reach all these targets simultaneously. Both “go” paths are great as long as we’re actually doing something and not just debating it.
“Make disciples of all the nations” is evangelism. Every born-again believer is commissioned to go with the Gospel and evangelize the world. Paul preached the saving Gospel and also organized new believers into churches. He taught them, cared for them and visited them again and again. We cannot simply win over people and forget about them; rather, we much establish them in the faith, helping them know Christ, learn goodness and grow in faith.
The church is commanded to teach its disciples “to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Disciples are grown in the faith by following examples of holiness. In the authenticity of our testimony, struggles, victories and uprightness, we make ourselves vulnerable and a living sacrifice to Christ in obedience to harvest new believers.
Therefore, we must go, baptize and teach; the Great Commission compels us to find the lost, win the lost and grow those new in the faith.
Both inside and outside of our congregations, we are called to missional work. As we explore the term “missions” in reference to an international context — beyond our nation’s borders — may we further understand our call to evangelism, discipleship and church planting in global capacities.
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” 1 Chronicles 16:24
What are You Doing About International Missions?
For you personally — maybe you are in agreement with your community call, and you conclude that your local church is reaching its surrounding area for Christ; this is a wonderful thing.
But, what are you actively doing in response to this vital life calling, specifically as it relates to global missions? Are you prayerfully supporting missionaries who have answered the call? Are you giving to a trustworthy missions organization? Are you offering your own resources to further global evangelism? Are you making disciples around the world?
The people who don’t know Christ yet — those unreached people groups who have never heard the name of Jesus — how will they ever know Him if we do not go, evangelize and disciple? How can we remain so comfortable in our communities when there are those dying without hope daily — when we are commanded to go beyond our comfort zones to change the lives of others around the world?
Your Support and Involvement Matter
In my work with Reaching Souls International, we seek to equip local leaders in regions such as Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia with the resources needed to share the Gospel and disciple new believers. The truth is, our work would not be possible without committed individuals and churches who faithfully support our ministry efforts. And while we are not a sending agency, we champion those whom God calls to serve feet-on-the-ground in the mission field. The point is that however you choose to engage with international missions, your support and involvement matter.
Believer, we all play a role in this divine command from our Heavenly Father. Whether it’s the giving of our time and efforts, financial resources or committing ourselves to intentional prayer, we must answer the call and say “Here I am, Lord. Use me.” Through our obedience, His glory will be revealed, and others will come to know his love and great name around the globe.
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Romans 10:13-15
Dustin K. Manis is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Reaching Souls International, which exists to reach the maximum number of people for Christ in the least amount of time in the most efficient way. Reaching Souls works to make the name of Jesus and His Gospel known all around the world.