I see so many young people called to preach in the USA. They want God to use their lives. They are hungry to serve. They study and train but with the view towards pastoring an existing church in the USA. Why do so few surrender to be missionaries? If the majority of the lost are outside the USA, why do so few surrender to go. I want to propose a few possible answers to the question.
I believe, as many have said, that we have complicated the call to missions.
In William Carey’s opinion, it wasn’t complicated at all. This famous missionary, called the father of modern missions, said, “To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.”
Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, would share the obvious need of gospel preachers and then say, “It will not do to say that you have no special call to go to China. With these facts before you and with the command of the Lord Jesus to go and preach the gospel to every creature, you need rather to ascertain whether you have a special call to stay at home.”
William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army, said this about people who claim to have not been called. “‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.”
Jim Elliot, who was killed by the Auca Indians in Ecuador, said: “We do not need a call to get involved in world missions – we need a good swift kick in the pants.”
Why do we feel like we have to be drafted, basically forced against your will to leave home to serve God overseas? Many tell me that they would go if God called them. What does that mean? How would or does that happen?
We were given clear commands as God’s people to go, to be witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth. Is the command not enough? Is it that we do not spend time waiting before God with the Bible open to know His will?
A second reason might be that believers in the USA live such isolated lives. They never see the world. They hear the missionaries present their work but think only in terms of giving them money, financial support. They see preaching as pastoring a church or being an evangelist. Our pulpits often do not emphasize the Great Commission. Our families are focused on raising good godly children, but little consider that there are families around the world that have never heard.
I believe the challenge would be to lift up your eyes to fields that are white unto harvest. There is no reason for us to be so self-centered, local-focused, that we ignore the world.
The last reason I would mention in this article might be that young people see no clear path to the mission field. They feel the need. They would like to serve but do not know how. There is help available if you want it. You can go. You can make a difference. Rise and obey God.