Mark 16:14-16 ESV - Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Acts 1:8 ESV - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
How many newer and younger Christians have prayed in fear something like this, “God, I’ll do whatever you want me to do, but please don’t call me to go to Africa (or Asia or Europe…) as a missionary!”? Are we so comfortable in this world that we are unwilling to sacrifice to help others make it the next world? Very few American Christians will likely be “called” or appointed as full-time missionaries to some foreign locale. However, given the financial resources, educational advantages, and ease of travel opportunities that God has permitted us to have, at what point should we not intentionally plan to serve the cause of world evangelism by personally going to a foreign country? Obviously, there needs to be wisdom and consideration of factors - such as what local churches overseas actually want or need in terms of missions workers. But consider how easily the average American family could make a difference worldwide - especially in a way that may forever change them once they return to the U.S. What if? What if…
…American Christians began setting money aside every month for their children (or whole family) to go on a meaningful missions trip (not “Christian tourism”) as a rite of passage during their adolescence or after high school graduation? Might this be a more life-impacting gift than a trip to Disneyland, Hawaii, Mexico, or even their first car?
…American Christians began an intentional program of ensuring their children spoke a language specifically geared to communicate the gospel to a people group desperately in need of the word of God? Would this ever be a wasted skill in terms of their future employment - especially if they worked in international business or government?
…American Christians adopted (in prayer and finance) reputable Christian missionary projects - medical missions, rescuing those from human trafficking, food/clothing relief for the poor, assisting persecuted believers, Bible translation societies, and established indigenous missionaries and other church-planting groups? Could these efforts and people become a vital part of our family devotions?
…American Christians intentionally reached out to all people groups that have come to the U.S.? Might we be able to help them overcome the culture shock while opening the door to evangelism? Might it be easier to make disciples of all nations here rather than overseas, especially when we look at all the nations God has brought into our area? Might we “adopt” local college students from a foreign country - especially considering they probably have nowhere to go during American holiday breaks?
What if… American Christians were not impatient when it comes the long, deliberate process of developing trust and relationship with those we wish to share the gospel? What if we took a long-term approach to advancing world evangelism even as we go on short-term missions trips? What if we embrace a risk-taking faith that dares to take the Great Commission more seriously - and globally - than ever before? Will you dare to go?