Have you been called to make disciples of all nations?
If you’re a Christian, then the answer is a resounding YES! The Great Commission doesn’t just apply to missionaries who go overseas; it directly affects you and your daily life, wherever you live.
You may think that your only job is to focus on your city, but that’s not the case. Matthew 28:18-20 tells us to make disciples of Jesus everywhere in the world. That leaves us with some big questions…
How do we do that? What does it look like for you to practically live out the Great Commission each day? How can you be involved in making disciples in Africa, Asia, etc.?
Dozens of books have been written about making disciples in your church, neighborhood, and city. A couple of great ones are Saturate and Gospel Centered Discipleship. However, not much is written about how to be involved practically in global missions.
The typical advice you’ll see is to pray, give, and go. Yes, yes, and yes! These 3 things are crucial and form the backbone of discipling all nations.
However, there are at least 2 more easy ways to advance the gospel in the world without even leaving your house.
1. Impact World Missions by Encouraging Overseas Missionaries
This may not seem directly related to the Great Commission, but as someone who has been serving overseas for several years, I promise that it makes a huge difference!
Missionaries have particularly stressful jobs. They leave their countries to live in a new culture with a new language where everything is different. “Different” often means “stressful”. Small tasks like buying groceries may be an all-day thing.
They often live without many of the luxuries that you may take for granted, like hot water, air conditioning, and being able to flush the toilet paper. Their children grow up hardly knowing their grandparents. I could go on and on.
Missionaries are usually prepared for this. They’ve counted the cost and find Jesus worth all of these sacrifices…but that doesn’t make it easy! Life and ministry are hard no matter where you are. Throwing in culture shock only cranks up the difficulty.
They are isolated from everyone and everything that they’ve always known, and it takes a toll.
An Ethnos360 blog post comments on this chart from a survey done several years ago:
“First term missionaries were found to have scores peaking at 900, while veterans maintain 600+ year after year. According to the research, people with a score above 200 will likely have serious long-term health problems within two-years.”
My jaw dropped when I first saw those stats. Then I started thinking about my first year on the field and realized that they’re pretty accurate.
Encourage a Missionary Today
What’s my point? Missionaries need encouragement! It’s vital to longevity in their ministries. You may not be called to go to another part of the world, but you can be actively involved in global ministries through encouraging these missionaries as they labor for the gospel.
Even if you don’t personally know any missionaries your church probably supports at least one. Go get their information, learn about their ministries, and then contact them.
- Write an encouraging letter, thanking them for their faithful work and letting them know that you have begun praying for them.
- Figure out a few small things (candy, ranch dressing, taco seasoning) that they miss from home and surprise them with care packages.
- Missionaries try to be good stewards of the funds people send them each month and often sacrifice a lot of personal things. Send an extra donation to be used specifically for a date night or a toy for their kids.
Not only will these things relieve a lot of stress but they will give a second wind for ministry. This kind of encouragement, even from people that I don’t know well, makes it so much easier for me to stay ministering overseas.
Encouraging, behind-the-scenes supporters keep missionaries on the field longer and keep them from burning out.
2. Impact World Missions by Networking for Missionaries and Ministries
Another way to make a global impact without leaving home is to spread the word about what a missionary is doing. My wife and I wouldn’t be on the field right now if we didn’t have supporters who are passionate about what we’re doing.
Help Them Get Funds
Most missionaries have to raise all of our funds. We may start out with a lot of connections, but after a few years out of the country, we lose touch with a lot of contacts. We need supporters who not only give financially but who tell other Christians about us and what we’re doing.
Honestly, I rarely know anyone at most of the churches where we speak. I have supporters who excitedly tell their friends in other churches about our ministry, and their excitement and zeal often win us speaking opportunities.
We wouldn’t be fully funded and on the field if we didn’t have faithful senders who advocate for us.
Help Them Get Prayer
This isn’t just a financial benefit. There have been many times that I’ve asked for prayer in our newsletter and received responses from supporters saying that they told their family or a friend’s church about our request and they are praying as well.
It’s super encouraging to get a random email from someone that we don’t know telling us that he or she is lifting us up to the Lord! So, our advocates get the body of Christ praying for us as well.
Advocate for a Missionary Today
This is so easy to do, especially if you’ve decided to be an encourager.
- What missionaries do you know? Are their newsletters public? Share them on Facebook.
- Email them and ask for specific prayer requests, then share them with your small group and Sunday School class.
- Do a fundraiser on their behalf when you know they need funds for a ministry project.
The church really is beautiful. None of us can fulfill the Great Commission alone…and that’s the point! As the body of Christ, we each have our role to play, some as goers and some as senders. We need one another.
If you’re a sender, then yes, you should be praying for and giving to world missions, but there are so many other ways to get involved. Encouraging and advocating for missionaries makes a big impact and is a visible example of the body working together for the glory of Christ among the nations.
What’s stopping you from doing one or both of them right now, right where you’re sitting?
Have you thought of some other ways to support world missions without leaving home?