Sometimes we hear someone say, “I think God is calling me to mission.” Or “If God calls me, I’ll go.”
What do we mean by a “call”?
To begin with, we must realize that there is a sense in which every Christian is “called.”
We are called to service, a service that grows out of our love and gratitude for what God has done for us. This love creates in us a desire to share that joy and good news with others.
So, there is a sense in which we can say that all Christians are called to be missionaries—not necessarily cross-cultural missionaries, but servants of the Master, nonetheless.
But God does call some to a special cross-cultural ministry.
We will look at two different ways in which He calls us.
Direct or Supernatural Call
Some people in history have received a special, miraculous call:
- Samuel heard God’s voice calling him when he was just a boy.
- Peter and John heard Jesus say, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
- Paul was stopped by a bright light on the Damascus road and heard Jesus calling him by name to be the apostle to the Gentiles.
Indirect or Circumstantial Call
Most people in the Bible, however, did not receive a supernatural call like those, but circumstances led them to God’s mission:
- Esther happened to be in the right place to save God’s people from annihilation.
- David was visiting his brothers when God helped him slay Goliath.
- Barren Sarah followed her husband to an unknown land and became the mother of God’s people.
- Daniel was captive in a foreign court where he was entrusted with prophecies for our day.
- John Mark failed in his first missionary endeavor but went on to be the first to author a gospel account.
What is God Doing With Us Today
Most of us are also called by “God’s gentle leading.”
We see God at work in our lives, and through various providential leadings, we feel God calling us.
- We realize that our gifts or talents especially fit us to serve in cross-cultural environments.
- We receive information (via books, speakers, etc.) that appeals to our mind as well as our hearts and “calls” us to serve.
- Past experiences (encounters with missions or missionaries, special times of commitment) call us to a personal commitment.
- We see God leading our spouse to mission and feel Him calling us to support their service.
- A desire to serve God and His church leads us to accept a call to mission.
All of the above factors can be powerful incentives to mission service.
First of all, God calls us to Him, and then in love we respond and go where He sends us.
He does not command results, but He does expect faithfulness.
The results are in His hands, but the willingness to respond to His call to mission is ours.
How has God led you to sense His call to mission?
We’ll be happy to hear from you in the comments below.