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Should I really tell students to go into all the world?

April 3, 2017
“I either want to be a missionary or be in a rock band.”

This was my reaction as a fifteen-year-old to overseas missions.

I don’t remember the missionary couple or even the country in which they served. I do remember the need presented and the newfound fire in my heart to go.

I’m not in a rock band.

27 years later I find myself on the platform of sharing about missions, the lost world, and going.

Seeing one of the largest unreached people groups begin to have an indigenous Christ-loving church and campus movement over the course of our team’s 18+ years of laboring in Khon Kaen, Thailand amazes me.

Being a small part of this is more valuable to me than all the riches the world could offer.

So why, now that I’m back on this side of the great pond, do I hesitate to specifically challenge people to go to those who have never heard the gospel—people who are hundreds or thousands of miles away from the closest proclaimer of that gospel?

Maybe I think it’s about me. Maybe I don’t want to come across as pushy or uneducated to the facts that there are lost people in our own backyard. Maybe I can’t challenge someone to do what I am no longer doing. Maybe the reality of the difficulties my family tasted causes pause. Maybe I think personal testimony is really enough.

I can easily counter my own hesitations with truth, facts, and gospel identity. However, a student’s feelings and view of me have greater weight than I want to admit. But, admit I must.

Dear student,

While I believe the Lord is sovereign, I fear my challenges for overseas missions could make you feel guilty for staying stateside in obedience to the Lord.

I am resolving to get back to my first love—Jesus, His gospel, His commission, His global vision—and trust His leadership in your life through His Word and the Holy Spirit. And with that, I commit to being a voice for the Great Commission overseas.

I want to see you wrestle with the facts, your gifts, your time, your future, your money, and your glorious Savior’s global mission.

I want you to count the cost, dream, pray, seek counsel, wrestle, cry, worship, repent, rejoice, reevaluate, and rest in your Father’s leading.

I’m committing to repent from what was once the object of my affection that has brought about this infection: My worries of confusing you, misleading you, you not liking me, worrying that I could send you to the darkest places of the world when the Lord may want you in less dark places.

These objects of my affection cause infection to fester and cloud our conversations with too many good disclaimers of calling thus removing the pinpointed moments of precise challenges.

I love you, the gospel, the lost world, and our Savior too much to not tell you to go.

Go! (Matthew 28:16-20)

Your servant,