How to Find Your Role in the World Christian Movement
Every believer is to pray, give, witness, and disciple, but are we called to do more, to find a specific role (or calling, if you will) in Christ’s global cause? The answer of course is yes.
As you consecrate yourself to God to use in any way He sees fit, try one or more of these four “World Christian” roles on for size. One size does not fit all, and you may end up wearing several different ones at various stages of your life. In a sense, these are simply four “habits” to develop in your life, but ask the Lord whether your primary role right now is as a goer, sender, welcomer, or mobilizer:
A. The GOERS are the Front Line Warriors
In a sense we are all goers─all front line warriors─because Jesus gave us the command to “go and make disciples of all nations.” From man’s perspective, though, it would appear that God’s distribution plan has not worked out so well! It is estimated that up to 95% of the world’s trained Christian workers live in…good ole’ U.S.A. (where only six percent of the planet’s population reside). Many people would be willing to go but are planning on staying. We need folks who are planning on going, but are willing to stay if that is the most strategic thing to do for the Kingdom. Most are waiting for an emotional calling from on high telling them to be a missionary. It’s amazing, though, that this is just about the only area of life that we apply this lightning bolt calling concept to! There are about 600 million active Christians in the world today. Approximately 150 million of them are between 22-50 years of age. The estimate is that we only need about 20,000-30,000 of them to be cross-cultural missionaries to finish reaching every unreached people group. That means we only need one missionary for every 5,000 people in this age group! With 600 Bible-believing local churches for every one unreached people group in the world, you would think we could together recruit enough quality goers to complete this task. Let’s get our people praying Matthew 9:36-38 and let the Holy Spirit fill this quota!
B. The SENDERS are the Vicarious Rope Holders
There are people who would like to be overseas, but feel called to stay and hold the ropes for those who do go. Out of the 100,000 students who volunteered for missions from 1890 to1930 about twenty thousand actually went and eighty thousand stayed at home to help fund them. Imagine applying that ratio today, having four laymen team up and each take 1/4th of a missionary’s support. This kind of sacrifice would allow us to make tremendous strides in getting funds to the front lines, seeing that 96% of all money given to Christian causes stays in North America! Amazingly, the annual after-tax income of American Christians is well over a trillion dollars, but we only give two billion to missions. That may sound like a lot, but it represents only 1/6th of one percent of our income. We spend 10 billion each year on weight reduction programs and even more on cosmetics and dog food! To be a financial sender you may have to take a radical look at your lifestyle in order to scale it back and give more to God’s Kingdom work around the world. Senders not only give but also pray. They can impact the world right from their dorm room, daily shooting prayer arrows around the world asking God to raise up laborers, to empower those that are laboring, and bring about fruit in the unreached areas of the world. Lastly, senders are involved in personal ministry where they disciple others with a world vision and seek to send them into the harvest field. World Christians beget World Christians!
C. The WELCOMERS are the Ministers of Hospitality
There are close to 600,000 international students in the United States. It’s like the Lord told us to go to the world and gave us all these resources, but we instead chose to stay and enjoy the comforts of America. “Well,” God says, “if you won’t go to them, I’ll just bring them to you. Is this close enough?” Our country has become an international melting pot, and yet we rudely neglect to reach out to these foreigners who are all around us. Statistics show most international students will come here to study four to six years and never even enter an American’s home. They want to, of course, but are not invited. How would you feel if you spent four to six years in another country and never even ate a meal in the home of a family there? This is one of many reasons why these internationals get bitter and cynical toward our so-called Christian nation. We can impact the world right here in our backyard because the nations send their best and brightest (the future leaders they are grooming) right to our doorstep. You can adopt one or more while they are here. Pray for them, love on them, share your life and faith with them. Let them see what you, your family and faith are all about. The ministry of International Students Incorporated (ISI) encourages us to try it and see what God will do; you might just end up sending them back with a vision to reach their own country for Christ. That’s definitely the most strategic (and cheapest!) way to infiltrate the nations with missionaries.
D. The MOBILIZERS are the Strategic Motivators
These are the ones that yearn to be on the field, but feel called to stay behind to rally the troops and stir the pot stateside by forming mission committees at their churches; planning missions conferences; recruiting people to pray, give and go; organizing short and long-term mission teams. They are always attempting to get books and materials into every Christian’s hands they can. As a result, they are sometimes called pests or fanatics behind their backs! Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Missions, says the highest priority within the Body of Christ right now is for more mobilizers; more men and women in every church, every town, every campus who will help open people’s eyes to what God is doing around the world and aid believers in finding and fulfilling their “World Christian” role as either goers, senders, welcomers, or mobilizers.
Dr. Winter claims that no less than 100,000 sincere, envisioned people write each year to one or another of the various mission agencies in this country asking for information about possible service with that agency. The estimate is that less than 1,000 of those will ever make it to the field. Why? There is no one to nurture and guide and equip them to complete the process. In other words, the workers are plentiful, but the mobilizers are few! Dr. Winter asserts, “Anyone who can help 100 missionaries to the field is more important than one missionary on the field. In fact, mission mobilization activity is more crucial than field missionary activity.” You may or may not agree, but read on!
Standing before a crowd of university students, Dr. Winter challenged them, saying, “Suppose I had a thousand graduating seniors in front of me who asked me where they ought to go to make a maximum contribution to Christ’s global cause. What would I tell them? I would tell them to stay home and mobilize. ALL of them.” How in the world can this former missionary say this with a straight face─trying to talk people into not becoming missionaries? “Because the need to sound the alarm is so great. Some will go as pioneer missionaries. Still others will be able to exercise the even more unusual faith to stay back from the field and assist this entire U.S. mobilization process to succeed.”
An Excerpt from The Fuel and the Flame
To order a copy, click here.