Acts 1: 7-8
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Every year we get questions from various Missions classes from around the US. We have had the privilege to share these questions many times over the years with students. Interestingly enough, they are the same questions people ask us at churches. So, here you go, the answers to your questions. Class or church, you are welcome to utilise these answers to your questions about Missions.
I will forewarn, my answers will be a bit different than other missionaries, but I hope they encourage and challenge you to think differently about missions.
Here we go:
1) Why did you choose missions? I do not think we choose missions, I think that God chooses to send people to the mission field. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God mobilises his people to do his work. The better question is: How did God direct you to missions? Studying the Word, Prayer and direction from Godly men and women. Interestingly enough, this answers the 'call' to missions questions, too. The question that needs to be asked to most people: are you even listening to God?
2) What were your first steps in becoming a missionary?
- Pray about it...
- Being in the Word constantly
- Work: Are you doing the ministry work where you are now? If you are not doing the work that you will be doing on the mission field, where you are living now, then you cannot expect to do it here.
- Pray with family and friends
- Asking the question : Are you really meant for missions or full time ministry (I have met quite a few people who go to Bible College who are not meant for this work)? Asking God, our pastor and others on this direction.
- Pray some more... Praying involves listening. Are you listening?
3) Where did you receive your training for missions?
- Evangelism training
- Bible Knowledge - Church and Bible College
- Interviewing missionaries - Anytime a missionary is in our church or at our school, I would strive to grill them on life in missions
- Real Life - Doing work in the real world. I worked for 14 years in retail and sales. I saw people where they were living. I knew how to discuss things with them and how they live.
4) How soon after you graduated from college were you on the field? Bible College: 2 months; University: 14 years
I have a degree in business and a Masters from a Bible College. I went to Bible college after I had been in business for 14 years. So I went to the Australia quite awhile since I went to university, but shortly after I went to Bible College.
Yes and No, I think more of my skills for missions came from real life and learning from people. The Bible school portion was valuable and needed, but not nearly as important as real life.
Honestly, life on campus at a Bible College is not ‘real’, get out and experience the real world. Why? Because that is who needs Jesus.
6) Can you describe some of the gifts God gave you to minister on the field?
- My family
I know you are looking for spiritual gifts, but this is what truly helps me with moving forward with missions.
7) What was (is) the greatest challenge to you while on the mission field?
Other ministry workers & fellow believers who prefer tradition over sharing the Gospel.
8) If you have children, were they involved in the ministry? They are one of the amazing gifts that the Lord has given us to know others. Having children allows us opportunities to be involved in our neighbourhood, local activities and school to reach out to people around us. They serve in the church in various and valuable capacities
9) Would you be open to having a short-term group on your field of ministry?
a. Yes with reservations, they would have to be a very special person. Someone who would be open to learning how to reach people here in Australia. Not someone who constantly is looking back at their experience in the US. Also, anyone who comes with the attitude that the ‘US is the best place for Christianity’ should not leave the US. Come to the field with a love for people and a desire to reach them for Christ.
b. The people who come should know their Bible, but not relying on their lessons in Bible College to communicate the Gospel.
c. A person who would be willing to come to Australia to serve the Lord, not to push their thoughts of what church should be based on their limited experience in life. (Sorry, kiddo, but anyone who is 18 years old or younger is limited in life experience)(If that offends you, please choose another field to visit!)
10)If you were to begin your mission career again, would you go to the field as a member of a mission agency or independently?
Mission agency - Even though they have their challenges. There are not too many people who could go to a foreign field on their own and succeed without a team around them. These 'pioneers' know who they are and do not need to hear any of these things, because they already think they know the answers. The majority of people (99.9%) would be better suited to go with a mission agency.
11)What tips would you give us as we prepare for global missions? a. Pray about it... b. Get a real job first, go work in the real world for a few years and live with, talk with and understand the real world.
c. Get involved in as many evangelistic activities in your church and community as possible. (If you ain't 'doing mission' where you are, why do you think you can 'do missions' somewhere else?)
d. Go on a short term trip
e. Be willing to go wherever God wants you to go (That could be the most expensive city in the world, Sydney)
f. Learn a different language
g. Pray about it some more
h. Talk with your pastor... should you even be considering this adventure of missions?
i. Pray about it again!
j. Commit... if you are convinced you are going to do this and this is what God wants from you, go in 100%. No one year plan, no two year plan, no four year plan... jump in with both feet!
Well, hope all of this helps. Thanks for asking and please feel free to ask me more questions, if you survived these answers.
(Yes, we use Australian spelling, because we are Australian)