The Future of Missions defines potential missionaries as a person who “may not currently be planning or preparing for overseas kingdom work, but something in the hearts of the engaged Christian…lights up when they imagine themselves on mission.”
Both the preface written by Dr. Paul Chitwood, President of IMB, and comments in The Future of Missions strongly emphasize that surrender to missions by a potential missionary is closely connected to a personal connection with a missionary or a short-term mission experience.
Dr. Chitwood wrote, “The data show an exponential increase in a person’s praying for missions, giving to missions and going on long-term missions if they’ve met a missionary personally, had a short-term mission experience or had some other missions involvement. Your commitment to enlisting a missionary to interact with younger generations in your church, and your drive to help young people engage in missions service, will impact generations to come.”
The Future of Missions said, when addressing the impact of meeting missionaries and going on short-term missions trips, “There is compelling argument here for the importance of early and often engagement.”
When young adults were questioned about what, if anything, might increase their interest in going to another country as a missionary, two concerns stood out.
The first concern was a sense of a call. How does a person determine if they are truly called to ministry? A good resource that helps a person answer that question is The Call of Ministry by Albert Mohler and others. It is a 126-page workbook that answers four questions.
- What is a calling?
- A call to what?
- Are you called?
- Now what?
This workbook is available on Amazon.
The second concern was knowing how helpful they could be on the mission field. They want to know that if they went could they make a difference. I know of a missionary who was a worship leader in a church where a missionary was holding a question and answer session. One of the questions asked was, “what is your biggest need?” He responded by pointing to the worship leader and saying, “I need him.” That caused the worship leader to resign from the church, become a missionary and eventually serve with that missionary. He is still on the mission field today and has started several churches himself. The only thing holding him back from surrendering to missions was to know he could make a difference. Perhaps pastors could challenge visiting missionaries to talk about specific ways the young adults in the church would be of benefit on the mission field. It is one thing to say workers are needed; it is another to give specific examples that might touch someone’s heart.
In part 4 we see how parents can help their children surrender to missions.
You can get The Future of Missions at https://shop.barna.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-future-of-missions