Step #1 Surrender to full-time ministry and missions. A full-time minister of the gospel is one of the greatest ways that you can live your life. As you study the Word, God starts doing a work inside of you and you start to develop a desire for the ministry and taking the gospel to people who have never heard (I am assuming that you are already saved, baptized and attending a local church). As God works in you, your desire needs to turn to surrender. Surrendering your entire life to serve Him, forsaking all other worldly occupation and desire to live fully of the gospel.
Many times when people surrender, they don’t exactly know what they are surrendering to, but they know that they are surrendering to “serve the Lord” and whatever they see that to mean at the time. Some see if through the lens of their “talents” and desire to serve full-time using just that talent. Others surrender to use their occupation full-time, since there may be an unwillingness to trust the Lord fully for your income and/or fear of raising funds or living from others giving to you.
When I surrendered to be a missionary, in my mind I surrendered to be a missionary that went to another English speaking country (I was afraid of learning another language) and simply told people about Jesus. I didn’t know anything about discipleship, church-planting and having to stand in front of people to preach. In my mind, I could do one-on-one full-time. I didn’t realize surrendering to the ministry was also surrendering to a life time of study. I didn’t even like to read at that point in my life.
So with that being said, I want to clarify two areas that I think you, as “a person with a desire to be a missionary of the gospel” ought to consider surrendering to.
Step #1a Surrender to Ministry. When I say ministry, I am talking about it in the traditional, old-fashioned sense. I am not talking about these new “think-out-of-the-box-ideas” that lead to quick results but ultimately little real fruit. There are so many things that are passed as ministry in today’s world, so let me clarify what I mean:
Ministry of the Word. Surrender to be a full-time minster of the Word of God. This means you will be a reader. It means you will be a lifelong learner and student of the Word. It means you will be actively teaching the Word. It means that preaching and teaching are part of your main ministry.
Ministry of Training. As a student of the Word you will also desire to train others everything that you are learning. This involves discipleship, teaching others through your life and lessons, building up the church of God, and helping other young ministers as they prepare for ministry.
Note: Ministry of the “Word” and “Training” are not things that you can do quickly. I will have to save this for another post, but let me say that these are ministries that you will spend your life doing to see fruit (versus the quick fix: buying a bible program, hiring a pastor, or providing 10 lessons for training).
Also, you should surrender to ministry separate from missions. This is because you might not always be a missionary but you can still be in the ministry. Maybe the door closes for the country you were wanting to go to. Maybe you get kicked out by the government or your visa is refused. What should you do? Well, you shouldn’t quit the ministry. When we refer to mission, we are mainly talking about a location. When we talk about ministry, we are talking about your life occupation.
Step #1b Surrender to Missions. By surrendering to missions, I mean leaving the comfort of your home, the guarantee of your health, and the relationships of your family and friends to take the gospel to a foreign land, and even more so, to a foreign land without much of a gospel witness.
A surrender to missions is a surrender to go. Be willing to really go. Go and stay. Don’t count by the days, months or weeks, or even months but put in the years. My generation has two things that make it hard to stay on the mission field, money and cheap/quick transportation. Be willing to go to a place and invest your life there.
A surrender to missions also means to look and consider the places around the globe where you can be used the most. Meaning can I go here and help in the harvest or can I go here to a place and plant seeds to start a harvest. One area is in need of workers because of how God is working and the other area is in need of laborers because there is no one there doing the work.
Ministry and missions is hard. That is why we use the word surrender. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is not better way to live your life. I love my life. But consider these areas as you surrender to be a missionary.
Step #2 Spent an adequate amount of time in training and preparation.
Step #3 Mobilize a Team of Financial and Prayer Supporters.
Step #4 Field Learning: Language, Culture & Missionary Experience
Step #5 Field Work: Evangelize, Establish, Equip.