I am a Young Person Who is Wanting to be a Missionary

Category: Questions & Answers

Question: Number 3, this comes from Onyacache Anequa. I’m sorry Mr. Anequa, I know I butchered your first name for certain. He says, “How can I go into missions? I’m 22 years old, been saved for nine months, I am at university.” 


Tim: Listen, I’ll be real quick on this. And this goes for any of you that want to be involved in missions too. If you’re a new convert, you’ve just been saved a little while, look – I’m going to tell you, biblically, missions flows out of the local church. You go to the book of Acts 13. Guess what? Paul and Barnabas are being sent forth from a church. From the church at Antioch. You want to be involved in missions? The best way to do it: you get yourself involved in a local church. A good church. One where you can function, one where you can use your gifts. 

Look, if you want to go into missions, you need to get yourself a church that is involved in missions, has a desire for missions, has elders that have a burden for missions. There are a lot of reformed churches, there are Calvinistic churches, that don’t have much of an evangelistic passion. They’re not very involved in missions. You don’t want a church like that. You can get a lot of hyper-Calvinistic churches where they will kill any kind of missionary zeal. You don’t want that. You want a church that has a reputation for sending forth missionaries, has desire, they pray for missions. That’s a church you want to get yourself involved with. And you want to start using your gifts. 

Listen, if you haven’t had your gifts tested and observed and recognized in the local church by other people beside yourself, you have no business thinking about going anywhere. We have too many lone ranger, self-proclaimed gifted people out there that don’t have the gifts, think they have the gifts, go off and accomplish little to nothing. Because they weren’t proven God’s way in one of God’s churches, under godly elders who identified those gifts. A church that recognized those gifts and then sent them out. While you’re there, while you’re working, read the missionary biographies. Listen. You will not suddenly, magically, become something on the foreign mission field that you are not right here. And too many people have this idea that if they were far away in another place, suddenly they would become something that they’re not right here and right now. That doesn’t happen folks. If you’re not the kind of person and the kind of character and the kind of walk with Jesus Christ in the intimacy and the prayer life and the life of fasting and the life of self-denial that is required to be a missionary out there, and you’re not already doing it right here, don’t believe that you’ll suddenly do it there. It will only get harder there. 

And you know what was said of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was finding it a little bit difficult at one point in his ministry, and God said, look, if you can’t run with the footmen, how are you going to run with the horses? And I’ll tell you that. If you can’t do well here in the United States being faithful, serving in the little things, working your gifts, if you can’t do that here, you’re not going to do it there. And too many young folks have this starry-eyed idea of basically a vacation, just like they suck those young people into the military by telling them they’ll get to travel and see the world. A lot of young people had that same mindset about missions. I’ll tell you what, all you’ve got to do is be out there with Trevor Johnson where the mosquitoes eat you, you can’t go to the bathroom without the natives staring at you, the heat is about 100 degrees, 100% humidity, you’re body is dripping and perspiring all the time, there’s no breeze at night. You lay there in a puddle of sweat. You’ve got people that come after you with machetes. The bugs are bad, the mosquitoes are unbelievable. The snakes are unbelievable. Spiders like you’ve never seen before. Ants that are in the house all the time. You’re uncomfortable and hot and bitten all the time. Mold grows on everything. And you start being in that for about a week, and you’re thinking vacation’s over, I want to go home. It’s serious. You can’t make it here, faithful in this church, some church right here on main street U.S.A., you’re not going to make it over there. 

While you’re being faithful here as a young man, or a young lady, and you’re preparing, it’s been said, Hudson Taylor was practicing self-denial before he ever got to the mission field. He was sleeping on boards, eating food that his friends were not eating – why? Because he was preparing for the self-denial that would be required out there. If you don’t have the ability to deny yourself, you’ll never make it out there. While you’ve got time here, while you’re trying to serve here, definitely give yourself to reading missionary biography. And definitely give yourself to keeping informed about the country and the people groups that you are interested in one day going to. Because, folks, when you’re informed, that will feed that fire of passion that you’ll need to take you out there. 

But I’ll tell you this, above everything, you need to be walking with Christ here. You need to be having an intimate prayer life here. You need to know what it is to fast here. You need to know what it is to find Christ here. You need to know what it is to walk with God; know the presence of God in your life. Because you know what? There’s only one thing that wins the heathen out there. There’s only one thing when you get out in those demon-infested lands that’s going to hold you up and keep you going and give you any fruit, and it’s the power of God alone. And if you don’t know how to tap into God here; if you don’t know how to walk with Him here, you don’t know how to basically be sustained by Him here, you’ll be coming off. You know what the average stay of the American is right now on the foreign mission field? It’s like one year. That’s bad, folks. You know why it’s like that? Because people have a glamourous idea of what foreign missions is, and they get out there and realize it is not what they thought. And it’s not a piece of cake. I want you folks to go to the mission field. I hope numbers of you young people will ultimately go, but don’t have a dreamy, unreal attitude about it. And I’ll tell you, read Hudson Taylor. Read Adoniram Judson. Read William Carey. Read some of these “Lords of the Earth.” Peace Child – those are written right from that area over there where Trevor Johnson’s at. Read about some of these missionaries. Read about the C.T. Studd’s. The Livingston’s. Read about some of these that went forth. Read about the Moravians. There’s lots of missionaries you guys can read about.